By Sam Eyoboka
IT was a comedy of some sort as mairuwa (commercial water vendors) busied themselves trying to satisfy the water needs of the residents of the expansive barracks allocated to a detachment of anti-riot policemen, MOPOL 20, in the Lagos State Command.
The water vendors were pushing locally made trucks carrying different colours of 50-litre jerry cans neatly arranged in two rows of five each which they deliver to every doorstep where their services were needed and get paid for their services. That was the setting lastÂ Thursday when the Apapa Family of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, drew attention of all and sundry to a community in the heart of Ikeja that had lived without potable water. Unbelievable? But it is true!
The community inhabited by police officers occupies the stretch between the Lagos State Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, Ikeja and the Lagos State High Court has been without water for a long time. Touched by the plight of the community the Apapa FamilyÂ approached the CP, Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo, who, without any hesitation, pointed to some barracks within the metropolis that had been living without water.
That was how the church decided to construct a borehole in the community and the dedication of the project was an eye opener to some first time visitors to the area because, not many believed that a community, so close to two prime institutions can be without water. But right in front of the visitors, including the CP were the ubiquitous mai ruwa supplying water to homes of the police officers.
After a brief praise and worship session, the provincial pastor in charge of the Apapa Family, Pastor Idowu Iluyomade, offered a brief encounter that metamorphosed to the construction of the borehole, saying that it was part of a vision of the Church to put back to society what God had endowed the church with. â€œIt is a very special day for us because it is one thing to have a vision and it is another to see the vision through,â€ he said, adding that this yearâ€™s theme in the Apapa Family is â€˜Touching Livesâ€™.
The pastor shocked many of his listeners when he said that the Lagos State command of the Nigeria Police Force, has been voted the greatest command in West Africa. He, therefore, pledged to spur them on byÂ providing eight boreholes in at least the same number of barracks to be determined by the CP. In addition, he promised to offer computer training to the Command in the next phase of the community development programme of the Church.
Responding, the CP with his wife, Grace, in tow, said the Command was overwhelmed by the kind gesture of the Church, pointing out that it was in line with the new community policing philosophy of the Police Force. Expressing his joy, the CP informed the audience that the borehole was the second of such gesture from the Church, pointing out the first was commissioned at the Traffic Division of the Command where there was no water at all for the residents.
As if to buttress the state of facilities in the Police barracks all over, Mr. Akpoyibo said: â€œWhen I was driving here for this event, I discovered that the roads and the facilities are still in a derelict state. There is the dire need for public spirited organisations, local governments and other agencies, including churches and mosques to collaborate with the Police so that we can attain a crime-free societyâ€.
While acknowledging the noble contribution of public-spirited voluntary organisations like the Apapa Family to the welfare of the Police Force, he said this is the new thrust of the Police today, because it is now obvious to all that the Federal or state governments cannot shoulder the responsibility of policing the society.
Urging other well-meaning Nigerians to emulate the kind gesture of the RCCG, Apapa Family, which donated a borehole to the MOPOL 20, Area F Barracks in Ikeja area of Lagos, the Police chief also used the occasion to thank Lagosians for their co-operation in the fight against crime in the state.
He reassured Lagosians that with the co-operation of the people of the state, this end of year season which is always associated with crime will come and go just like last year, adding: â€œWe are going to have a crime-free festive season.
Last year when we were approaching the Christmas season, people were afraid that the season was always associated with crime but I told them that, by the grace of God, Christmas will come and go and we saw it last year. People came out enjoying themselves in parks and other public places without any hitch, there were no robbery in Lagos State and nobody was kidnapped. By the grace of God, I say again this year it will be the same. It shall be well with everybody in the state,â€ he promised.
Speaking on churchâ€™s gesture, Mr. Akpoyibo said: â€œThere is nobody who is thirsty who has been given water to drink who will not be happy. Certainly I am very happy because this barracks had been without water for some time now, but they now have a borehole for the children, the women and the menâ€.