- Â Ambode demands additional area commands
Gboyega Akinsanmi and Chiemelie Ezeobi
The Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Idris Ibrahim, thursday admitted the challenges undermining national security, noting that lack of funds was hampering the Nigeria Police from discharging its responsibilities as enshrined in Sections 214 and 215 of the 1999 Constitution.
Conversant with the challenges facing the Force, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, requested for two additional area commands, which he said, would help tackle the nefarious activities of criminally minded persons once and for all.
The IG reeled out the bane of the Force yesterday at a meeting with Ambode at the State House, Alausa where he attributed the on-going police reform to the paucity of fund.
Ibrahim visited the State House alongside the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Operations, Mr. Habila Joshak, Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone II, Mr. Adamu Ibrahim and Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, among others.
Since it established Lagos State Security Trust Fund, a public-private partnership on September 3, 2007, the state government had spent more than N20 billion in cash and equipment to support the state police command and other security agencies domiciled in the state.
Under the Ambode administration alone, the LSSTF had invested at least N4.756 billion to procure the security equipment, which President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated on November 27, 2015, apart from the subsequent intervention, the state government had provided the police command.
While acknowledging strategic support the Ambode administration had been providing the state police command in the last 27 months, the inspector-general admitted that paucity of funds had hampered security in the country, which he said, was the reason the force â€œoften seeks assistance from the state government.â€
He, therefore, said policing â€œis fund-intensive. We have to conduct investigation and other activities. These activities are all centered on funding. Due to lack of funding, we are often compelled to solicit for fund from state and local government to carry out our activities.â€
The inspector-general acknowledged that Lagos State â€œhas been a pace setter because this is the first state to introduce security trust fund. That is one thing we are trying to introduce at the federal level. Presently, we have a bill before the National Assembly centered on police reform.
He frowned at the recent acts of romance with the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, by some policemen.
This is just as he said the force would soon establish 88 new area commands across the country, adding that over 1,000 kidnappers have been arrested nationwide in recent times.
â€œPublic hearing has been heard on this bill and we believe it will be one of those instruments to change the face of policing in Nigeria. What often hamper security in the country is funding.
â€œWith the fund, we will have enough money to carry out our investigations. We will also have money to conduct other activities that will ensure adequate security. I thank the state government for the support it had been giving us in the area of equipment and allowance to our officers.
â€œWe are trying to enhance our ability to check criminal activities at the coastal areas. We are trying to get more gun boat. We need to procure at least 10 more gun boats. I believe with the support of the governor, we will get more gunboats.
â€œWe are trying to enhance the Nigeria Marine Police to be able to use the facility effectively. We are happy that the Nigerian navy has accepted to train our officers on how they could use the facility better. With the gunboats, we will effectively check some of these criminal activities.
â€œWe believe that in conjunction with the state government, we would be able to intensify security within the stretch of the road from Lagos to Port Harcourt. We believe that if we adopt the fund strategy at the federal level, challenges on funding would be resolved,â€ Ibrahim said.
Also at the meeting, Ambode requested for two additional police area commands, noting that it would go a long way in tackling the nefarious activities of criminally minded persons once and for all.
If eventually granted, Ambode said the additional commands would be set up in Ikorodu and Badagry, assuring that the state government was ready to provide the funds to set up the commands.
He said: â€œFunding is key to security. Security is fundamental to the growth of Lagos. It is central to the prosperity of Lagos. So, we are ready and we are committed to support all our security agencies â€“ the Nigerian Navy and the Nigeria Police to make sure that we have a safe city where we can be investor friendly and also grow the economy of Nigeria.
â€œI am ready to fund additional area commands in Lagos. We need two additional commands in Lagos, one in Ikorodu and another one in Badagry. There is a need for us to pay more attention to the Ikorodu axis because of the kind of reports that we are getting from there.â€
He, also, requested that the Mobile Police Command in Ibeju Lekki be relocated to Epe, alluding to the multi-billion dollar investments coming up in the Lekki corridor and the need to secure the area.
He said: â€œWe already have Mobile Police Command in Ibeju Lekki. Because of the kind of economic activities in the Lekki Free Trade Zone and the road expansion that we are doing in the Epe axis, we request that the Mobile Police Command should be relocated to Epe itself.â€
He, therefore, pledged to provide additional gunboats and equipment â€œto safeguard the waterways. The state government will ensure that the state is safe and secured for residents and investors.â€
The governor, equally, revealed that the state government had concluded plan â€œto procure a surveillance aircraft with the capacity to deal with all forms of crimes on the waterways.â€