By Sunday Ehigiator
The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, and heads of other security agencies in the state, including the army, air force, navy, and the Department of State Services (DSS), yesterday embarked on confidence-building patrol across the state.
A large convoy of the security chiefs yesterday visited Ikeja, Mangoro, Iyana Ipaja, Agege, Dopemu, Ojodu, Berger, Ogba, Abattoir, Oshodi, Mushin, Lawanson, Surulere and Orile.
Others included Bode Thomas, Sabo, Ejigbo, Aguda, Ijesha, Ago Okota, Festac, Ejigbo, Ikotun, Idimu, Agege, Igando, Mushin, Kofo Abayomi, Ajah, Ilaje, Langbasa, Adeniji Adele, Ebute Ero, Apapa, Ajengule, Tolu, Amukoko, Ijora Badia and Layeni.
During their visits, the security heads took turns to address the residents of the various communities in English, Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa languages, assuring them of their safety.
Odumosu reassured them of the unwavering commitment of the law enforcement agencies to protect their lives and assets.
He urged them to shun rumour-mongering and spreading fake news and described the rumour making the rounds on social media that a gang of criminals known as ‘one million boys’ are planning to attack some communities in Lagos State, as “baseless.”
Spokesman of the Lagos Police Command, Mr. Bala Elkana, said in a statement yesterday that the command under the watch of Odumosu had in the last four months incapacitated the gang and other criminals “with the arrest of over 800 suspects and recovery of over 40 various categories of firearms.”
“On assumption of duty as Commissioner of Police Lagos State, he launched a special operation known as Special Strike Force on Social Miscreants with a mandate to identify the various cult and gangs in the state, isolate them and bring them to justice.
“The operations, which are intelligence-driven, took the battle to their doorsteps, targeted their top hierarchy and dealt decisively with them. The war against cultism and gangsters requires a collective approach,” he added.
The CP, however, called on community leaders, traditional rulers, religious leaders and landlords association to support the ongoing onslaught on criminals.
He also urged parents to monitor the activities of their children and wards and ensure that their children are not recruited into any criminal gang.
On the spontaneous creation of vigilante groups by youths in various communities, the CP said it was one of the principles of community policing for citizens to participate in policing their local communities.
“It has to be monitored and controlled by the police for quality assurance. Such vigilante groups must conduct themselves in a way that their activities will not create more tension and panic as witnessed in the manner some of them were seen in the last few days, displaying dangerous weapons and burning tyres.
“Their conduct creates more panic and in some instances, residents assumed them to be armed robbers and gangsters. In order to address this gap, community leaders and landlords associations among others, are tasked with the responsibility of vetting the youth the communities trust enough to participate in policing their neighbourhoods.
“The Neighbourhoods Watch initiative must be strictly monitored and controlled,” he stated.
In a brief remark, the NAF Commander said the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, had deployed air force
Helicopters to join those of the police initially deployed in aerial surveillance.
Both the NAF and police helicopters were seen hovering around and providing air supports to the Special Forces on the ground.
The Special Forces, drawn from various tactical units, were deployed by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, to support the teams earlier deployed by Odumosu.
They are working closely with operatives from other services to provide round-the-clock patrols and surveillance across the state.