Ondo Police Protest: Treasury Single Account In Action
Many online and regular media headline on Monday, November 28th, 2016 was “Breaking News: Policemen on rampage in Ondo”.
Immediately I saw this, I knew some aggrieved politicians who lost the election in Ondo State Governorship election that was conducted on Saturday, November 26th, 2016 must be behind the so called protest news.
The Information I gathered from the Police Public Relations Officer of the Ondo State Police Command, Mr. Femi Joseph was that the Senior Police Officer was addressing the Policemen that participated in the Ondo Governorship Election commending them for performing successfully well and in the process, they were shouting for joy and so some people thought it was a protest.
We all know that so many patrol vehicles were used for the election, so parking them along the Ondo/Ile-Ife Expressway caused traffic logjam on the highway, but some reporters termed that as “Police protest that made motorists stranded on the expressway for several hours while some motorists had to take alternative routes in the town to get to their various destinations”.
I am advising our reporters to always take advantage of the Force Public Relations offices to make enquiries in balancing their news before publishing.
From the news at my disposal, none of the reporters approached the Commissioner of Police or the State FPRO in Ondo State.
When they heard the side of the “protesters”, they should have endeavored to hear the other side as well. That would have given more credibility to the media organization that reported the news.
Some of the so called ‘protesters’ who “spoke under condition of anonymity, alleged that some high-ranked officers in the police denied them their allowances, which according to them, made them stranded after the election had been concluded”.
“They refused to pay our allowances after the election, we all believed that the money was released by the Federal Government to our ‘Oga at the top’ but they refused to release the money to us, we will cause trouble and made them realize that they were the one encouraging corruption in this country”
I expected the reporters at the protest to have enlightened the “protesting Policemen” that there is no way ‘Oga at the top’ could sit over anybody’s allowance because all payments are done through the Treasury Single Account (TSA) to ensure transparency and accountability.
I was even informed that payments commenced few days to the election and most of the Police personnel confirmed receipt of payment alerts into their various Bank accounts before the election. Even those Police personnel who submitted incomplete accounts details have been rectified and they have started receiving their payment alerts.
It is high time media houses re-train their reporters on investigative and balanced journalism. The media and the Police must work hand in hand to ensure a peaceful community.
Adewole Kehinde is a Journalist and Public Affairs Analyst based in Abuja. [email protected]