Authorities of the Nigerian Navy have been accused of marginalising non-commissioned officers within the service by denying them befitting accommodation and payment of their entitlements.
One of the affected NCOs, who spoke with SaharaReporters on the condition of anonymity, said based on law, non-commissioned officers are entitled to 40 per cent of salaries paid them as their accommodation bonus apart from their fixed monthly salary.
He, however, said the authorities had continued to deny him and other colleagues the entitlement, forcing many of them to live in overcrowded barracks.
He said, “This is as regards our lodgings in the Navy. In the harmonised salary structure for armed forces, the Manual of financial administration for the armed forces of Nigeria (MAFA), was signed in 2017 though it was not implemented until recently, the law has been there.
“It states that whenever a rating or an officer, whether commissioned or non-commissioned officers, passes out from training school, then 40 per cent of the salaries will be paid to us for lodging every month, if one does not have an accommodation in the barracks, we will be paid 40 per cent of the salary, it is there in the book.
“But if the officer has lodging in the barracks, then the person is not entitled to the 40 per cent of the salary again. Actually, it is not compulsory to stay in the barracks.
“In the Nigerian Army, they are trying as regards the accommodation issue, they don’t have problems. The air force too is trying; once you pass out, from day one, they give you accommodation but the navy has a problem.”
Another victim noted that the authorities manipulated it that when non-commissioned officers passed out, it would be after five years, after getting the first rank that the 40 per cent accommodation fee would be paid.
He said, “The navy stipulated that officers in the rank of Ordinary Seaman will not be given an accommodation neither will they get the accommodation allowance and the Ordinary Seaman earn as low as N51, 000 as salary per month.
“Meanwhile, it is in the book that everyone should be given. Other forces are paying and trying to get accommodation for their officers; most of them have houses but in the navy, we have the problem of lodging.
“Meanwhile, commissioned Navy officers, once they pass out from the training school, all these allowances get paid to them. There are other allowances we are entitled to. We have the Armed Forces Harmonised book.
“But non-commissioned officers do not get paid the accommodation money and do not get a house yet the Navy will be claiming that they have given you a house. In some cases, when they post an officer somewhere, about 20 officers can stay in a place, like an arrival hall. The book says everybody is entitled to 40 per cent of the salary for accommodation.”