•  Lost N16.7bn to fire disasters in the state

Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Lagos State Government thursday denied allegation that it compromised the recruitment of its Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LSNSC), noting that political leaders have not hijacked the process as being speculated in different quarters.

Also, the state government said it saved a whopping sum of N99.72 billion from different incidents of fire disaster in 2016 just as it lost N16.62 billion to the same disasters.

The Commissioner for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations, Mr. Oluseye Oladejo, faulted the allegation at a news conference he addressed at Alausa yesterday, noting that there was no case of compromise and recruitment scandal at all.

He addressed the conference alongside his information counterpart, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, and Chairman of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Agency (LSNSA) Board, Mr. Israel Ajao, among others.

At the conference, Oladejo faulted claims that political leaders had hijacked the process of recruiting the state Neighbourhood Safety Corps, a purely community policing institution the state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, inaugurated recently.

Oladejo therefore, allayed the fears that some politicians might have hijacked the recruitment process, noting that Ambode had appointed a retired Deputy Inspector-General, Mr. Israel Ajao, to head the NSC so as to forestall such occurrence.

He explained that the governor directed that all personnel of the defunct Neighbourhood Watchers should be absorbed into the corps, though said some of them were found wanting during the period of screening.

He said those who passed the screening “have been employed into the corps. What the governor said was that they should be given priority and they should be examined and put through the normal screening which other applicants would also go through.

He said they are accessed based on their mental, psychological and physical fitness to fit into the new scheme. Some of them are as old as 65 to 70 years. You just wonder what manner of security somebody like that will do and some were also found wanting in regards to their health status.

“Those who scaled through the recruitment process constitute about 40 percent of those who served in the defunct neighbourhood watch. So, definitely, the governor’s directive has been carried out in that regard,” the commissioner said.

On fire disaster, Oladejo put the value of the properties saved from at N99.72 billion in 2016. Sadly, however, he said the state lost N16.62 billion “to fire disaster in the same year. We are resolved to prevent and manage fire outbreaks in the state.

Consequently, the commissioner said the governor “has approved the creation of four new fire stations in the state. As at now, Lagos State can now boast of 14 Fire Stations across the State and all are equipped to combat fire outbreak.”

Oladejo said government had scaled up activities in monitoring and surveillance in the state and intensified safety advocacy campaign in order to inform, educate and enlighten the public on the prevention and management of fire outbreaks.

He said the Lagos Safety Commission “is saddled with the responsibility of setting safety standard for business premises, event centres, churches and other public buildings. They do not have any no-go-areas to ensure that we put safety measures in place in the course of construction and the rest of it.”