Worried over the incessant armed robbery operations in different parts of Lagos State, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Manko, Monday, said statistics showed that the average age of the robbery suspects were between the ages of 18 and 23 years.
Manko made the disclosure while briefing the Team Three Course participants of the National Defence College, who were on a study tour of the Command Headquarters in Ikeja.
While lamenting the downward trend with regard to indulgence of youths in crime, he however attributed their notoriety during operation to the use of illicit drugs.
He said, “Since I assumed office seven months ago in Lagos, our statistics have shown that the average age of robbery suspects was 23 years. This portends a great concern to us.
“These bracket are the people that engage in major crimes and it has thus become imperative that a robust youth orientation programme be put in place.”
He added, “It is on record that most of the sophisticated crimes like robberies that we had smashed in times past were perpetuated by youths within that age bracket and it all boils down to youth delinquency, hard drugs intake and inordinate ambition.
“They are often dreaded when they are in operation but become sober when caught and blame their actions on the devil. Their sheer bravado was built up by the use of drugs.”
Manko admitted that the peculiarity of the state has contributed to the prevailing rate of crime which range from armed robbery to murder, fraud, trans- border crime and kidnapping.
He however said the command would always rise up to the challenge by continually being on the offensive instead of the defensive when tackling crime.
This, he noted, cannot be achieved without the support of the state government and collaboration from sister services, particularly the Operation MESSA.
He said, “The state government has been of immense help to the command as we have so far received a total of 4000 vehicles including gun boats to patrol the waterways in addition to 114 vehicles and 40 motorbikes from the local government to facilitate the command’s patrol.”
In his address, the leader of the team, Brigadier General Imomotimi Birigeni, said the purpose of the tour was to carry out a study on its theme ‘Youth Empowerment and International Security in Lagos State’ with a view to finding solution to the cause of youths involvement in crimes.
He said the tour would afford the team comprising of 15 participants and nine administrative and support staff, the opportunity to proffer possible solutions to the government on the indulgence of youths in crimes.