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How I reduced crime rate in Lagos State, CP Akpoyibo (2)

By Emma Nnadozie & Ifeanyi Okolie


NOLLYWOOD AND POLICE IMAGE

It is true  that we have not been feeling too comfortable with the way they have been  projecting you and I.  You see, these movies, they are been watched outside Nigeria.  And whether you like it or not, the way they see me, that is the way they will see you when you travel.

If you had watched American films, they don’t lose any battle  and they will feature those ones who don’t take bribes. They will feature those ones who look like me and Frank, because they are nationalistic.  They love their country. They don’t want to sell out junks  and reflect themselves as ugly, rotten, used entities. But it is not so in Nigeria.   If you watch some of the movies, they will leave people like Mba and myself and they go to those, I don’t want to call them villains, because nobody trained them in the college to appear dirty and to wear bathroom slippers.

They pick them up and use them for their movies, and then these are the things they are projecting for us and they laugh at us, they say, look at the Nigerian Police in bad shape. Thank God that the world has become a global village, every thing in the newspaper is on the internet. So, if you say the wall fall against all in Nigeria, every body outside will believe that the wall fall against all.

* CP Marvel Akpoyibo and Frank Mba, Police PRO, Lagos.

The investors will not come. So,  whether we  like it or not, what ever we do here, we  are making a statement about everybody, every one of us. That is why I said, now that Lagos, in fact, is so good. There was a report I read recently, the United Nation said the pattern of policing in Lagos should be adopted worldwide. Yes, they  did their checks and at the end, of course  they came up with this statement.  I had thought that the media would use it effectively, to capture the world and bring them to come invest here, let them know that we are not doing badly.

When militants attempted to come to Lagos to kidnap  a Lebanese, and they really did. They were asking for N30 million. I went to the drawing board  and put certain things in place.  We were  able to arrest  all kidnappers.   We were able to recover the N30 million cash,  not even one dime was missing and the victim was also  rescued intact. No injury what so ever.  You may not know how the international community took it. Both  Britain, China, Russia.   They came to my office; it was as if they came for a study.

How were you able to do it?  Because they said, with their level of technology, they couldn’t have imagined such operation been clinically carried out without any fatality on our side and the man was rescued and   the money recovered  intact. Of course I did not tell them every  thing because I know the walls have ears.  But I just tried to paint a picture of how we did it. But we played it down so much here, nobody sang with it, it was not like a matter of course.  Like now  that crime has gone almost to the barest level  in Lagos State, compared to what we use to have. If you travel abroad just go out, just go to US or UK.  They will ask you, you are from where, Lagos. what’s happening. How is Lagos? You will see excitement.  They would want to know, they are curious, because they feel the impact there..  But we don’t  really celebrate our success sufficiently.

I went to Ghana to receive an award and the IG of Ghana pleaded with me.  That I should please spend two hours to lecture all his officers. Because our gain in Lagos, have become their woes in Ghana.  That the kind of crime they were all experiencing, were the type that were taking placing in Lagos those days.  That I should please come; how did I achieve the feat, that they fled from Lagos and, kind of migrated to Ghana.

So, I told him that, I will be foolish to tell why I am succeeding here, because your defeat here is based on my success there. But having said that,  I will just give you a few hints.  I told them visibility.  Police visibility is a very potent factor and that I insisted we must establish in Lagos State.  Accountability is very important.  I won’t tell you what happened to the DPO in that area where this journalists were killed. I won’t tell you, or the Area commander. They are all on their toes. Everybody in Lagos is on his toes.

They will call you names, naturally.   I don’t care.      Because if you are a leader and every time they praise you, they are singing your praises, to you all is not well with you.  You have to go for deliverance or go for self examination.  So, I love those bad names they call me.  Here in a Lagos we are very transparent in accountability.  So, that is what we are doing. I think the earlier we begin to sing of what we have achieved, it would be better, rather than taking things for granted. We are very  good at forgetting the past.

POLICE VISIBILITY AROUND DOPEMU, IDIMU, EGBEDA AREA
Before I came on board, Shasha police station was not there. Ikotun was not a division, Ikpaja was not a division.  Idimu was covering Ikotun , Ikpaja, ShaSha and  Igando.  Like I was saying, because we are very proactive, most of these stations, if I have to wait for bureaucracy, I may not have the opportunity of creating them before leaving Lagos.  But I knew what was need and I did something.

Shasha is a new division, Ikpaja, is a new division, Gowon Estate is a new division, Ikotun and Igando are so many new divisions.  And I concentrated this new divisions in that area. It’s an on-going process. So, if you compare what we have now to what we use to have, you will know that we have made a tremendous impact in that area. But I want to assure you that, perhaps as soon as we get more vehicles, we will deploy more vehicles to those areas.

DILAPIDATED POLICE BARRACKS AND EXAM MALPRACTICES IN SCHOOLS
It is true some of our barracks are in bad shape, how I wish I have the capacity to transform them. All that you have said, you have only described a systemic problem. It is not peculiar to Mr. Akpoyibo or the Nigeria Police Force.  The system of education had already deteriorated.  Go and employ a graduate today, ask him to write a good story for you, you will weep, what you will get from them.  The same thing in the police. So, it is a systemic problem and it cut across the entire system.

The police, we are not the examiners,  we are not the invigilators most of the time. We’ve had course to arrest some,  for examination malpractice.  We arraigned them in court; of course they were released on bail.   We can’t arrest, arraign and sentence at the same time. And what happens in the campuses,  between the lecturers and the students, although it is a different ball game.

In a tertiary institution you can’t carry mobile men into the classroom because you want to stop examination malpractice.  But you have only described one aspect of it. What of when the examiner himself decides to allocate marks, when the man did not even sit for the exam?

So, it’s a systemic problem and it’s can’t be ascribed to the police as such. . I hope the reforms are going on and I am very optimistic, that the wind of reform that is going on in the police will affect the barracks also.. So, it will help us if we have good environment for police officers to live in.  It will enhance their relationship with the  members of the public. And of course, the output, the efficiency will be enhanced.   And, I am sure the present dispensation will do some thing about that. Because they are lots of reforms going on, and of course, accommodation welfare are part of the arrangement. And, I am very optimistic that by the grace of God all of us will have cause to smile.

POLICE BRUTALITY
The issue of police brutality did not start today.   If you go into history, how was the police established?. The colonialists established the police to promote their interest, to brutalize and enforce their own laws, that was the original intentions.

The contemporaries didn’t start today, but I want to say that, no society is static.   Things have changed.  We have moved from that antagonistic position to a friendly one.  If you look at Lagos,  we are very friendly here. Can you imagine a Lagosian celebrating his seventieth birthday, how did he go about it, he went and bought eleven brand new patrol vehicles kitted them with wireless sets.  And he said look, if not for the police doing a good job, I wouldn’t have lived to celebrate my seventy years birthday, that is a lot of confidence one could show to the police. The state government, they have absolute confidence in us.

That’s why they went out of their way to buy all the equipments they bought, look, equipment don’t have eyes,  they don’t have ears, they don’t have brains, no legs, they must be driven by someone who have the right vision, the right focus, the right composure. If those variables were lacking, the state government will not go out to equip us.   Here in a Lagos, there was a time an irate police officer pulled the trigger and killed a student at Epe, it happened around 8 pm.   That same night, I conducted his trial, dismissed him.

The following day,  I had to call the press and I asked the students to come, we bundled this man to court, and that man is in the prison. We do that here in Lagos; nobody has the right to take the life of another man in Lagos. if you pull the trigger unjustly on another man I will make sure you go to jail. Let us not evaluate our jurisdiction with what happens elsewhere.  Here in Lagos,  I think we have broken away from that realm of antagonism, we are now in the realm of community policing and people friendly policing and all that and here in Lagos you people are helping us to police better.

HIS SPIRITUAL CALLING AND POLICE EXTORTION

it is true that I am a child of God and I give God the glory. I joined the police before I gave my life to Christ and that was about 20 years ago.   Since then, my life has not remained the same again. I discovered that you will be a better policeman if  you police with the fear of God.   There is no way you can be a better policeman if you don’t have the fear of God, no, you won’t do justice and as many that have come to my office for one thing or the other, they will agree with me that there is a difference.

Ask any of the DPO’s,  nobody comes to give me envelop and that’s the truth and I am saying it openly here. The only thing you will give to me is that your area is calm, nobody has been killed and that is my joy and I tell people,  if that is the only way one will have to get rich,I don’t want to be rich after all. That is why God is helping us so much in Lagos, because what ever I do, I commit it into the hands of Almighty God.

On the issue of some of those boys that extort money on the road, you have never called me to report that you are with a policeman on the road and he is taking N20.   Those who have called me even those in public transport, each time they call me, I tell them don’t make noise, follow them to the station. If I have to put on my phone now you will be rattled by the number of calls, they will confirm what I am telling you.  When they call me and I said, don’t talk so that they won’t   hurt you, follow them to the police station, when  they get there, I will request to speak with the DPO.  I will tell him, arrest that policeman who brought the people there and we will dismiss him.


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