Soldiers serving in the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), Kaduna, resorted to violence and arrested civilian staff members who were peacefully protesting against the non-payment of their allowances. This marks the second attempt by the civilian staff to demand their rights, including the payment of six months’ Peculiar Allowance, minimum wage arrears since 2019, and promotion arrears for 2020, 2021, and 2022.
The protest unfolded at the Kakuri factory of the corporation on Monday morning, with the soldiers, deployed by the management to prevent demonstrations within the facility, forcibly pushing the protesting staff away from the gate and towards the nearby Monday Market. During this altercation, heavily armed soldiers assaulted one protester who was recording the scene with his mobile phone. Furthermore, another staff member named Bala, a civilian security man, was arrested and taken into custody by the soldiers.
Speaking to journalists, the aggrieved staff members highlighted their lack of enrollment into the IPPIS scheme and expressed their frustration with the treatment they receive while serving Nigeria through DICON. They firmly demanded the immediate payment of their full promotion arrears for 2020, 2021, and 2022, as well as their Peculiar Allowance to alleviate the impact of fuel subsidy removal. These staff members feel neglected, pointing out that all other agencies under the Ministry of Defence have been enrolled in IPPIS, while DICON staff have been left behind.
The protesting staff called upon the Federal Government to intervene by instructing the management of DICON to address their demands and cease victimizing employees who voice their concerns regarding mistreatment and the denial of their rights. It is crucial for the government to step in and ensure fair treatment and timely payment for the dedicated civilian staff members of DICON.