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No more hiding place for criminals …

•As govt empowers Police with patrol vans, APC

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Government’s sustained  onslaught on insecurity in the state seems to be getting a special boost from corporate organisations who have enthusiastically embraced its Public Private Partnership (PPP) policy in the area of crime prevention and control.

Information has it that these bodies are presently jostling to identify with government’s war in this respect by  donating brand new patrol vans and other sundry equipment to the State Command of the Nigeria Police Force.

This is coming in the wake of government’s recent offer of stipends  to augment the salaries of officers and men posted to Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the state in order to boost their efficiency.

The patrol vans waiting for distribution.
The patrol vans waiting for distribution.

But the talk-point presently is Governor Babatunde Fashola’s recent handover of 114 brand new security vans donated by the 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) to the state Police Command as an added boost towards curtailing incidents of crime in the metropolis.

This gesture is believed to be a fallout of  a security trust fund set up for this purpose. Against the backdrop of the recommendations of a high-powered security committee, headed by former Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, the Governor had sponsored a bill on security trust fund, which was signed into law in September 2007.

He later inaugurated a seven-member board of trustees with former Solicitor-General of the state, Mr. Fola Arthur-Worrey, as the Executive Secretary.

According to him: “The fund is a practical response to the reality of the operational deficiency of the Police and other federal security agencies within the state due to long years of neglect by the Federal Government, particularly in the areas of funding and provision of modern equipment”.

Gov. Fashola (right), handing over keys of the vans to AIG Abubakar and Marvel Akpoyibo, Lagos Commissioner of Police
Gov. Fashola (right), handing over keys of the vans to AIG Abubakar and Marvel Akpoyibo, Lagos Commissioner of Police

Governor Fashola who commended the level of policing in Lagos State since the assumption of the new administration, charged the Police to ensure that the new vehicles and the new police uniform translate into a beacon of safety and friendliness to the people.

While stressing that it is possible for the security agents to indeed enforce the law in a polite and civil manner without resorting to brutalizing the citizens whom they are expected to protect, he added:“You must ensure that rather than becoming instruments of terror, the new vehicles should evoke a feeling of reassurance in the people that the police is their friend”.

He continued: “I want you to ensure that your new uniforms and new patrol vehicles do not become symbol of oppression of the people but people that can be trusted”.

Also calling for the creation of state police, the Governor described the need for it as an effective measure to stem crime wave and ensure proper security of lives and properties in all communities and states of the federation.

Each of the 57 councils will get two  patrol vehicles from the fleet of patrol vans.

Another cherry news came when the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Marvel Akpoyibo announced that all Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) in Lagos State have been directed to henceforth engage in patrol operations in order to ensure effective and efficient policing in the metropolis.

Akpoyibo added that the handing over was an example of community policing in action as well as an expression of the profound determination of Lagos State and its local governments to ensure a crime-free Lagos, declaring that there was no more a hiding place for criminals in Lagos State.

Akpoyibo, who was intermittently hailed by his junior officers in his brief address,  added that all DPOs have been directed to personally use the vans for patrol  operations only, especially at this last quarter of the year.

According to him: “The patrol vehicles are meant for patrolling every  nook and cranny of the state and should be used specifically by the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) for patrolling”.

He also promised to ensure that the new vehicles are reasonably and judiciously utilized at all times by the crime formations that the vans would be allocated to.

In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Prince Rotimi Agunsoye, said the launching and distribution of a total of 114 security vehicles would complement and boost the State Government’s continuous efforts at providing security for the people of the state.

Agunsoye explained that it was the belief of local governments and local council development areas in the State that the provision of security is capital intensive and that the State should not be left alone to bear the cost.

Also speaking, the Chairman of the Conference of 57 Local Government Councils and Chairman of Ojodu Local Council Development Area, Mr. James Faleke said the local governments donated the 114 vans and 10 Personnel Armoured Carriers (APC) to the Police as part of efforts to support the security initiative of the state government.

Faleke promised that the councils would also fund the provision of communication gadgets in all the vans and urged the Police personnel to ensure that they are properly maintained.

Lagos sponsors pupils abroad to study road safety culture
Winners of this year’s “Be Road Friendly (BRF)” quiz organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation in conjunction with the State Universal Education Board (SUBEB) would be sponsored on a visit to the United Kingdom to study road safety culture.

Senior Special Assistant to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Transport Education, Dr. Mariam Masha, disclosed this at the quarter-final and semi-final contests of the quiz in Lagos, adding that winners would visit the London Transport Museum and the Department for Transport, London.

Her words: “We want to get them to see what happens in a developed country. They would also be able to measure how far Lagos has gone compared to what exists in the United Kingdom and ask the questions: Are we doing badly, can we do better? And it hopefully inspire them to see transportation as a career not just as a dumping ground for anyone”.

Masha also noted that it was the desire of the state government to improve transport education in the state that prompted it to  set up the School of Transportation in the Lagos State University (LASU) which offers degree courses. The aim of this is to inspire students to become transport planners and engineers.


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