Correctional service officer commits suicide after being denied promotion thrice

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A Nigerian Correctional Service officer has taken his own life after being denied promotion for three consecutive times, Peoples Gazette has reported.

Identified as Alfred Bassa, an assistant superintendent of prisons, reportedly wrote promotional examinations three times, passed three times and suffered denial from correctional authorities three times, according to the online newspaper.

“He decided to end the nightmare by taking his own life,” one of his senior colleagues said under anonymity for fear of any reprimand because he was not an authorised correctional spokesperson.

Bassa, 28, was said to have brought a Sniper bottle with him when he arrived at work at the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Keffi, drinking the lethal pesticide in his uniform, according to sources.

The tragedy reportedly occurred on October 2 while prison authorities in Abuja swiftly moved in to hush it, sources said.

His demise came as the correctional service was promoting officers to new ranks. The approvals were communicated last week to affected officers, which did not include Bassa, an official said.

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Bassa was scheduled to get married to his long-time sweetheart on November 19, 2020, when the humiliation of being denied promotion for the third time became too much for him to absorb.

“He has watched as his contemporaries were being selectively promoted, including some who did not even pass promotional examinations,” an official said. He should have been at least promoted to assistant superintendent of prison II, his colleague said.

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Ja’afaru Ahmed, comptroller-general of corrections did not return a request seeking comments. A spokesperson for the correctional office was unavailable for comments Tuesday evening.

The Gazette learnt that the matter was escalated to interior minister Rauf Aregbesola, who failed to take action.

“He did not show any care about the young man that died when he was informed about it,” an official said. “Neither did he even bother to say he would launch an investigation into the injustice of selective promotion.”

The Nigerian Correctional Service and its sister interior agencies have long faced allegations of injustice and gross misuse of power with regards to personnel promotion and other career progression policies.

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In 2018, an Abuja residence sued the correctional service after being suspended from work for protesting selective promotion. The Immigration Service has faced similar allegations over the years.

The multiple cases across the agencies strongly suggest a perverse culture of injustice at the services.

“They only promote based on ethnicity, faith and your financial status,” an official said. “It is unspeakable the level of fraud and injustice that comes with promotions in the service.