Professionally, were there other options open to the soldier than killing the man instantly?
That soldier released that shot as a last resort in his bid to extricate himself and his weapon from the gang of hoodlums that were on him. If that weapon had been taken by those hoodlums, do you know how much risk that would portend to the Lagos public?
Of what use in your wildest imagination would that weapon be put to? And by the way, which military authority is the soldier going to explain such a seizure to? That bloody hoodlums on the streets of Lagos rounded you up and collected your weapon? That is a chargeable act of cowardice.
The soldier acted in line with the dictates of his Rules of Engagement while on a legal duty. It is however unfortunate that the man died. May his soul rest in perfect peace.
What action have you taken against the soldier that killed the man?
The soldier is under the custody of the military police who are handling preliminary investigations. A Board of Inquiry (BOI) has also been constituted and its finding would in due course be made known. In addition, the Civil-Military Relations Committee is coordinating a reach ~out with the deceasedâ€™s relations. All machineries are being put in motion to see that the issue is well addressed and nerves assuaged. It is rather unfortunate.
How do your men relate with the police in terms of this joint patrol?
We relate well. We have a very cordial relationship. The level of operational synergy exercised, impacts positively on our delivery capacity on the job. We engage in information and intelligence exchange when required to our mutual benefit. On the human angle, looking at the hierarchy of the Police in the State, the CP is such a fine gentleman who is surrounded by a crop of polished and experienced officers with a huge capacity for â€œout of the box thinkingâ€.
However, efforts are seriously on to see this level of understanding replicated down the rank and file. At OP Mesa, I can say with some certainty that we have achieved this.
Thanks to the daily interaction that prevails between us. Initial preconceived notions and fixations have given way for mutual respect and accommodation. These could not have been achieved without the vehement position adopted by the Commander 9 Brigade Brigadier General JAO Ochoga over the need for cordial relations with all security agencies, especially the Nigerian Police.
How would you describe a typical patrol day bv OP MESA?
A typical patrol day by OP MESA starts with the initial briefing in which the men are reminded of their DOâ€™s & Donâ€™ts, expectation of the public from them and the military authorities too. They now depart for their various sectors. It is important to note that OP MESA operates a Tri-sectoral arrangement in the coverage of Lagos metro-pole. We have the Island sector, the Ikeja Sector and Ojo Sector. Each sector is further stratified into sub-Units. At the end of the day, each patrol vehicle is assigned a patrol area of Responsibility or Catchment Area within which it operates.
What are the Impediments/Problems so far?
Well, you call them problems I refer to them as challenges. Since they are challenges they would definitely be overcomed. First is the need for the Public to divulge information to OP MESA. We have been receiving but given ember months ahead now the public must be ready to assist in thisbusiness of crime mitigation.
You can use the GSM No: 0802-339-3239. Secondly, the public must understand that like every other organization OP MESA operates within available resources. Reaction to distress calls maybe delayed due to need to probably move accident victims to a nearby hospital.
What plans do you have for the ember months?
OP MESA has been repositioned to meet the challenges of the ember months. The Commander Brig Gen JAO Ochoga has directed the establishment of operational static patrol bases at some traditionally noted trouble spots (black spots)
To this end, we have established operational bases at Idi-Araba, Gatan-Kowa, Mile 12 Market, Aiaba market, Mile 2 etc.
You will always find our vehicles positioned in these places to ensure swift reaction to distress calls.
We intend to meet the desire of His Excellency in guaranteeing a crime free ember months as the Sallah and Xmas approach. It is our hope that Lagosians in diaspora who are looking forward to returning home after numerous years abroad will feel adequately safe to move from one entertainment spot to the other at odd hours of the night. It is our responsibility to make the environment safe for him.
When he is convinced, next year, he would come with a friend. That would mean more foreign exchanges, more investment, and by so doing OP Mesa will be supporting the tourism initiative of His Excellency and thereby broadening the tourist potentials of Lagos State.
Advise to the Public?
Please assist us to serve you better. The Lagos State Government sustains OP Mesa from the tax payers money (your money). So assist us to maximize your derivable gains from OP MESA. This you can do through information sharing .
Let me also use this opportunity to thank His Excellency for his continuous support to Operation MESA, both in terms of logistics and other administrative requirements. I want to pledge our continuous commitment to service delivery and support of his laudable initiatives in bringing safety and security to the ordinary Lagosian on the street. EKO o ni baje o!.