LAGOS AND THE BATTLE AGAINST CRIME

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Sanwo Olu

Security of life and property is the primary responsibility of any responsible and responsive government. Virtually all organisations, either private or public, seek for an efficient and effective security system that guarantees maximum security of lives and property. This is in view of the fact that there cannot be any meaningful development in an atmosphere of chaos.

Over the years, Lagos State has remained one of the most peaceful and secured states in Nigeria as well as the preferred destination for international business. One wonders how the Africa’s fourth largest economy has consistently preserved public security.

With a population of over 21 million, Lagos, the third largest mega-city in the world, has lots of challenges to grapple with. Issues of security, traffic, environment, health, education and many others readily come to mind. A government that must confront these challenges must possess the wits and guts to nip them in the bud.

That is why the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, came up with the T.H.E.M.E.S. (an acronym for Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, Entertainment and Tourism as well as Security and Governance) Developmental Agenda to confront the numerous challenges in the state with a view to attaining a ‘Greater Lagos’.

Understandably, and rightly so, security and governance is an integral part of the state’s T.H.E.M.E.S. On assumption of office, Sanwo-Olu read the riot act to criminals, hoodlums, kidnappers and other unscrupulous elements, urging them to either renounce their nefarious acts and be good citizens or face the wrath of the law.

Consequently, the governor beefed up security network by empowering the police and other security outfits with the required tools to wage war against the ‘bad boys.’ Several patrol vans, bikes, arms and ammunition and other essential security equipment were purchased and deployed to security operatives to enhance public security.

In line with his commitment to improving the state’s security architecture, Mr. Governor had said at different fora that his government would stop at nothing to provide adequate protection for the residents. He has, thus, prioritized the funding and management of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), while also paying close attention to the welfare of security personnel for maximum performance.

From all indications, the investments and commitments are beginning to pay off, as a steady decline has been recorded in the rate of crime across the state, going by recent reports from the State Police Command. This lends credence to the resolve of the Sanwo-Olu administration’s effort in tackling insecurity, despite the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent statistics released by the State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, showed that the Lagos State Police Command arrested 6,756 suspects and impounded 3,706 motorcycles for plying prohibited routes from March to July, 2020. According to the police data, 6,756 suspects were arrested for various crimes, ranging from armed robbery, kidnapping, vandalism, cultism, murder and several others.

A breakdown of the figures showed that between March 1 and May 10, a total of 3,810 suspects were arrested by the police, 1,167 suspects arrested between May 10 and May 17, while 1,779 suspects were nabbed between June 6 and July 20 to 26. Also, of the 6,756 suspects arrested by the police in the five months, 1,121 were charged to mobile court.

The data also revealed that 781 suspects were charged to mobile court between March 1 and June 8 and July 5, while 154 suspects were charged to mobile court from July 6 to 12 and another 186 suspects charged to mobile court between July 20 and 26.

Of the 3,706 motorcycles seized within the five months, 1,518 bikes were impounded between 13 April and 10 May, 591 bikes impounded between May 10 and June 7, another 1,084 between June 8 and July 5. Some 365 were impounded between July 6 and 12, while 148 others were seized between July 20 and 26.

Also, within the same period, the Lagos Police Command impounded 2,520 vehicles for various offences. A breakdown revealed that 1,977 vehicles were impounded between March 1 and May 31, 410 between June 8 and July 5, 34 others between July 6 and 12 and 99 vehicles from July 20 to 26.

During the period under review, the police recovered 42 arms from suspected robbers and criminals. Some 21 arms were also recovered between March 1 to May 31, while 13 arms were recovered between June 8 and July 5, three arms from July 6 to 12 and another five between July 20 and 26.

While commending the officers and men of the Lagos State Police Command and other law enforcement personnel in the state for working hard to stem the tide of crime, it is, however, important to stress that they should not rest on their oars.

Folashade Kadiri, Deputy Director, Strategy Center, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja