Governor Babatunde Fashola
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Tuesday took on the Federal Government over the nation’s security challenges, saying its refusal to properly equip the Nigeria Police and other federal security agencies had compounded the challenges of policing and security.
The governor spoke at the sixth town hall meeting on security held at the Civic Centre in Victoria Island, where he pointed out that his administration alone “has provided equipment and logistics valued at N8.7 billion” for Lagos State Police Command and other security agencies between 2007 and 2012.
He further noted that the state government through the state Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) “has provided over 85 per cent of the assets currently in use by the security agencies” deployed to the state, an assertion which the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Manko, corroborated in his address at the meeting.
Although, he pointed out that about 32 police officers of different ranks were killed in gun battles in the state between November 2011 and October 2012 and 270 cases of murders recorded, Manko acknowledged that the state police command “cannot function without the collaboration of the host state government.”
But the governor, who addressed such dignitaries as Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu, top officers of the Nigeria Police and Nigeria Armed Forces (NAF) among others, blamed the Federal Government for the poor performance of the federal security agencies, which he attributed to poor funding and dilapidated equipment.
He explained that the Federal Government “has not really helped matters by its seeming refusal to properly equip its agencies to wit: the Nigeria Police and other federal security agencies in the state. In spite of the talk of police reform over the past decades, nothing substantial appears to have been done beyond rhetoric.”
Fashola therefore reeled out meagre support, which he said, the state police command “has received from the Federal Government between 2007 till date. The Federal Government has not provided up to 30 patrol vehicles for the police in the state.”
“While it is fair to acknowledge the receipt of 11 patrol boats, the FG does not seem to think that the police require other equipment such as a number of Armoured Personnel Carriers, walkie-talkies, communication masts, repeater stations and motorbikes, even though security is constitutionally its exclusive preserve,” he said.
He, however, lamented the dangerous cases of terrorist attacks and environmental disasters in some northern and southern states, which he said, had generated a huge number of displaced persons and refugees, some of whom had already relocated to Lagos in order to escape the costly effects of the attacks and disasters.
He explained that some of those displaced due to the activities of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in other parts of the country “are of evil intent. The ideologues have stayed to take on, but the professional criminals have moved, seeking softer targets. Our job is to see to it that we are not one of the softer targets.”
Manko gave details of the state crime statistics at the meeting, revealing that within the timeframe, 32 policemen were killed while the policemen killed 140 robbers in gun battles, which represents a shortfall in the number of robbers killed by the police between November 2010 and October 2011, which stood at 164.
Also, the statistics showed increased robbery cases in Lagos as 123 armed robbery incidents were recorded in the last 11 months ending in October as against the 61 robbery cases that took place in the previous year.
According to the report, the police arrested 569 robbers in 11 months which is higher than the 522 robbers arrested the previous year, while more arms have been recovered in 2012 (371 arms) than 2011, which stood at 328.
The statistics also Armed robbers have been using more sophisticated ammunition as 26, 058 of them were recovered in the last 11 months as against 3,553 ammunition recovered last year, showing that 954 vehicles were recovered from robbers in 2012 as against 1,187 vehicles recovered in 2011.
Furthermore, 1,263 vehicles were stolen in Lagos in 11 months, which is less than the ones stolen in the previous year, which stood at 1,448. Under the period being reviewed, the police foiled 418 armed robbery cases which is lesser than the 426 robbery cases foiled within the timeframe.
The statistics said about 270 people “were murdered in Lagos in the last 11 months as against 319 people murdered the previous year. The challenges being faced were that as crime was being tackled by the police, criminals naturally attempted to evolve new trends and patterns of crime.
“The new trend in Lagos State is the vandalisation and attack on ATM, car jerking and the menace of commercial motorcycles operators. The command has risen up to the challenge by evolving new strategies to combat the menace but dearth of funds and logistics continue to hamper our efforts,” the report said.