*calls on Ambode, CP to re-strategise
FOLLOWING the serious security challenges confronting Lagos, some concerned organisations and individuals have expressed divergent views on the causes and possible solutions.
Indeed the increase in crime rate has largely been described as alarming. In its response to the worrisome development, the Lagos State House of Assembly has chosen to point accusing fingers at the Federal Government for not giving the state government control of the waterways, adding that the persistent security challenges the state is faced with in recent times came through the waterways.
The House through its Deputy Majority Leader, Olumuyiwa Jimoh, said that, porous waterways is majorly responsible for the persistent insecurity in the state. According to him, different robbery incidents that have occurred in Lagos came through the waterways, adding that robbers from other states usually access Lagos through the waterways.
Speaking with Vanguard INSIGHT, Jimoh who represents Apapa II, explained that in a federated set up if the state does not have no control of the waterways, there will always be a problem. He said it was not by accident that three major robbery incidents that occurred in Lagos recently were carried out through the waterways. He said the only solution is to tackle the problem from the root. “It is better to address the issue fundamentally”, he added.
Speaking on activities of the dreaded Badoo cult group in Ikorodu, he said that though members of the group are active in Ikorodu, they not spirits and untouchable. According to him: “Members of the Badoo cult group are merely after people’s property and sometimes kill them”.
On the kidnapped students in Igbonla, Epe, he assured that the case will not be similar to that of the abducted Chibok girls. According to him, schools that are close to waterways should be fortified with the necessary security gadgets, adding that kidnappers gained access to the school through the waterways.
Another lawmaker, Mr. Abiodun Tobun, said that the insecurity in the state is being sponsored by some unnamed group of people. Tobun, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Works and Infrastructure, emphasised that security should be of great concern to all, and expressed the belief that there are some external elements sponsoring insecurity in the state. He said the state government has invested so much on security as a responsible and responsive government.
According to him: “We have the Lagos State Security Trust Fund because security of lives is important to us. We have passed a Bill on Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps, LNSC, into law to protect lives and property of the people in different communities through information gathering”.
On the Badoo cult group, the lawmaker lamented the fact that the Lagos State government is not directly in-charge of security in the state, and that despite the fact the Governor is the Chief Security Officer of the state, the State Commissioner of Police takes orders directly from the Inspector General of Police.
He opined that the state government was doing what is expected of it by funding the Rapid Response Squad, RRS. “We are funding RRS heavily, we are spending a lot of money on buying equipment for them; we buy helicopter, gun boats for marine surveillance; we provide bicycles, motorcycles, pick up cars and cars for land surveillance.
“We have been calling on the Federal Government to allow us have state police, but they refused. It would have been better if the operatives of the LNSC were allowed to carry arms like the regular police,” he said.
Tobun, who is representing Epe Constituency 1 in the Assembly, explained that the government is planning to ensure that criminals do not operate in the state anymore. “The Badoo cult group members operate only in Ikorodu axis and I believe that they are people who know the terrain, who know when to strike and when to withdraw. It takes tough monitoring and effective surveillance to catch them,” he said.
In his view, the Chairman, House Committee on Information Security and Strategies, Mr. Tunde Braimoh, representing Kosofe II, explained that crime cases in the state cannot but be traced to the fact that those who were granted amnesty during the last administration have lost their access to the nation’s treasury have, therefore, decided to go into crime.
“The truth of the matter is that we all know that the amnesty programme will not stand the test of time. So, when they lost access to the nation’s treasury, they decided to come to Lagos to cause havoc. The state government has been able to sustain the peace in the state until the problem started recently. Our major problem is the shoreline. This is the major channel where these people penetrate Lagos. They come through the creeks and escape through the creeks. But, I want to assure you that any criminal case will not be condoned in Lagos. This is just a warning that Lagos State will not harbour criminals. It is better they relocate from Lagos and go back to where they come from,” he warmed.
On his part, Tobun called on the state government to strengthen security in that area and re-invigorate their strategy on how to address security challenges. “I will only appeal to the state government to go after them and make sure they are duly punished,” he said.
He then urged the state police command, traditional leaders and rulers as well as the local vigilantes to change their security strategies in curtailing the problem.
Olumuyiwa Jimoh also stated thus: “I don’t want to say that the government is not trying. It is the nature of human beings to disobey and it is the duty of the government to punish offenders. We are also doing our best as lawmakers. We are doing all what we can do as legislators to address these issues”.
But he also accused the people of being part of the problem, saying that “if there is a criminal in an area and people find it difficult to report or give information about him or her to the police then they’re complicit”. He did not stop there. “If you go to the United Kingdom today and you are living in an area and you are not working, one retiree would just call the security agents or send them an email so that they could know your identity. But here, we are less concerned. If a boy that has never worked in his life comes home with an exotic car, nobody would ask him any question,” he said.
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