By Evelyn Usman
His physical appearanceÂ speaks volume , judging fromÂ his stern facial disposition and intimidating height. In an apparent show of readiness towards the enormous challenge of overseeing security related issues in Lagos and Ogun states, the new Assistant Inspector -General of Police in -charge of zone II, Mr Azubuko Udah, began a tour of Lagos state last Tuesday to access the level of success in the command and get acquainted with other challenges.Â
This was after he had earlier visited Ogun State , where a plea was made to the state government on the need to equip the police if the mandate of protecting lives and property of the citizensÂ must be actualised.
VISIT TO ALAUSA.
The AIGâ€™s first port of call was the Lagos state government house in Alausa,Â Ikeja, where co-incidentally, the Governor made a donation of ten Armoured Personnel Carriers to the state Command, to aid its combat against crime. Governor Fashola who used the occasion to shower encomiums on the command following what he described as â€˜a giant strive in the reduction of violent crime in the state â€˜, also lauded the effort of the command boss, Mr Marvel Akpoyibo whom he described as â€˜an exceptional and doggedÂ commissionerâ€™ .
In response, the AIG expressed gratitude to the state government for its unrelenting efforts at equipping the command, attributing the hitherto reduction of crime in the state to such gesture. Noting in particular that policing was not the exclusive reserve of policemen but that of government as well as the citizens, he described the gesture as a welcome development towards fighting crime and other acts of criminalities to a standstill, in the state.
From Alausa, the AIG made for the Oba of Lagos palace onÂ Lagos Island where he was welcomed by some palace dancers .
Inside the palace, after homage was paid to ObaÂ Rilwan Akiolu, the AIG wasted no time in soliciting for the Obaâ€™s royal blessing and support , particularly in the area of intelligence report and advise where necessary, since Oba Akiolu was also once an AIG.
Without mincing words, Oba Akiolu,Â who is known for his frank talk, in response, pledged his support for the AIG even as he registered his anger over the use of motorcycles by some policemen for commercial purposes. He noted that his annoyance was not the issue of the policemen using the motorcycles for commercial purposes but their excesses , particularly those whom he saidÂ usually drove against traffic .
â€œGo and warn some ofÂ your men who are okada operators. I know the town is hard but the issue of their driving against traffic because they are policemenÂ does not augur well. If they should use it for commercial purpose, they shouldÂ let them out . Driving against traffic is a sign of indisciplineâ€, he stated.
He also called for an improvement in the supervision of men and officers of the zone , urging theÂ AIG to get to the root of the incident at Badagry two weeks ago, where a former aid to the immediate past governor of Lagos state was found dead and the circumstances surrounding his death yet to be unravelled.
To other senior policemen, particularly the Rank and File, he said the clamour for bail is free should be practised, reminding thatÂ policemen are servants of the people, even as he called on all parastatals and multinational corporations to continue to assist the police, pledging also to accord the AIG all necessary support during his stay at the zone.
CONFERRED WITH THE TITLE OF WARRIOR
From Oba Akioluâ€™s palace, the AIG made for the Akran of Badagry palace, De-Wheno Aholu Menu of Badagry kingdom,Â where he was also greeted by some traditional dancers .
But a spectacular scene unfolded itself when he visited another Oba in the Badagry West Local Government area, Oba Sejiro Olalekan James, the Olu of Kweme race.
After the normal traditional dances which included a spectacular display of masquerades, the elated Oba who described the AIGâ€™s visit asâ€™ historically significantâ€™, conferred on him the title of â€˜Awafito of Kwemeâ€™ kingdom, which means warrior of the kingdom.
Oba Olalekan also did not waste time in showering the Lagos State Command boss with encomiums for what he called â€˜a job well doneâ€™ particularly in his area which used to be terrorised by hoodlums.
His familiarisation tour continued next day , with an address to men and officers of Lagos State Police Command. Although, he did not mince words in commending the command for the drastic improvement in crime fighting , a development he noted, had been greeted with cheers and commendation from all quarters, he called for more efforts in that regard.Â Expressing his satisfaction over the stateâ€™s crime statistic since the assumption of office of Marvel Akpoyibo, he called on other state commands to borrow a leaf from Lagos.
Noting that Lagos is the commercial nerve center of the nation where people come in droves to settle down , he stated thatÂ if the security in the state was the opposite, many of the settlers would have returned to their respective destinations.
But in spite of the on-going successes recorded by the command, he noted that there were still a couple of corrupt policemen in the command who indulge in extortions and other corrupt acts. He therefore called on those culpable to desist from any act capable of jeopardising their stay in the force.
â€œIf we are doing our best we should be mindful of the few people among us who do not have the fear of God . They are the ones who stand on the road and extort. We will not because of them deviate from our target .
We are aware of the IGâ€™s zero tolerance to corruption and that entails discipline. EveryÂ policeman should know that the work we are doing is Godâ€™s work and for you to be found doing that same thing we are charged to check , it means you are on your ownâ€
In order to check this trend, he said the IG monitoring unit as well as the zonal monitoring unit are on constant patrol, advising corrupt policemen to check it .
Admonishing further, he said, â€œcarry yourselves with dignity . There is nothing worth losing your self esteem by ridiculing yourselves publicly on the high way . That is why people thinkÂ police are corrupt.Â You can never be millionaires by extorting. You will at the end loose your self esteem and also get punishedâ€
The current performance of the Lagos state command, he said, can be compared to any city in developed countries. â€œThere is no other way to justify this than to say we are having a new phase epitomise in Lagos. I am not only going to ensure that the tempo will be sustained but, will do more to reduce crime . We will ensure that crime rate is lower than any other city in the worldâ€.
.Interactive section with the media
Before the interactive section with the press, he met with members of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), where he commended them for collaborating with the police and also enjoined them to do more.
Answering questions on the latest on Dipo Dinoâ€™s murder, he revealed that a number of arrests have been made but kept mum on the exact number and other details maintaining that the Police would brief the public at the end of the on-going investigation.
He, however, debunked claims that the police had never succeeded in arriving at a logical conclusion in murder cases, sighting the late Bayo Ohuâ€™s murder as one of the successful murder investigations, which led to the recovery of the deceased laptop, phone and making some arrests.
He, also, frowned at the report by some Non-Governmental Organisations on what they described as extra judicial killing during the Gboko Haramâ€™s saga in the Northern part of the country, saying the Force also lost some of its men while trying to contain the situation.
He furtherÂ expressed displeasure over the disregard of the policemen who lost their lives and the impact of such loss on their families, by the NGOs, wondering why more emphasis would be placed on those who instituted the crisis rather than the policemen who were merely drafted to bring the situation under normalcy.