By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos has condemned inccesant killings of journalists in the country,Â saying it portends grave danger to the nationâ€™s democracy and called for investment in security.
Journalists in Nigeria had, on Monday, converged on Lagos to protest the incessant killings of journalists in the country.
The governor, while expressing his deep empathy to the pen professionals in the country, stressed the need for government at all levels to invest in technologies that could assist security agents to detect perpetrators ofÂ heinous crimes such as having a well equipped forensic laboratories across the states.
Fashola, who spoke at the Lagos House, Marina, while addressing a delegation of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, led by its President, Alhaji Garba Muhammed who came to deliver a letter to him for onward transmission to Acting President Goodluck Jonathan.
The governor noted that for the security agents to work effectively to detect crime and arrest culprits, they must be equipped adequately.
He expressed concern over the killings of journalists in recent times, saying: â€œI like to say that every time the life of a citizen is lost, it diminishes me as head of a government. This is why we will spare no effort to increase the capacities of our security agencies to protect lives and properties.
â€œI have often taken the view that no investment is too much to make to save life because no amount of money will ever be enough to bring back life.â€
He, however, said there were difficulties and challenges being experienced along the way which, according to him, â€œare people-created. I understand and empathise with you about the feelings that you must nurture for the loss of your colleagues. I empathize with the families and children of the departed.
â€œBut the truth is, what lessons have we learnt from this and what actions are we taking? Does our country have forensic laboratory that can do DNA examinations in order to achieve and assist the Policemen and women to detect crime?
â€œCrime detection is not a mystery; it is forensic work that requires equipment, that requires technology.â€
Listing such evidence like saliva, strands of hair and sweat as some of the materials that could be used by security agents to assist them in crime detection, the Governor said: â€œIf we donâ€™t equip people to do their job properly, I do not think we have the moral high ground to condemn them.â€
Makes case for SIM card registration
Fashola lamented that it is only in Nigeria within the West African sub-region where one could buy sim cards without identification, pointing out that it is only when the identity of the caller is ascertained that the police are empowered to detect who made the last call and what was said to the victim of assassination.
The governor expressed happiness that there is a bill before the National Assembly on the matter, but added: â€œI think that even before the bill is passed, in matters of national security, the President can act with executive orders.â€
Regrets wrong use of phones
He expressed regrets that instead of using the telephone to assist and improve the quality of their lives as it is rightly meant to be used, some people have turned them into tools of terrorism and for sending threat messages.
â€œWhen we did not have telephones, we were complaining; now we have it, are we using them for the purpose for which they are meant?â€ Fashola asked.
Apologises for coming out late
However, Fashola on receiving the protesters apologised to the protesting journalists for coming out late, saying the event was not in his schedule for the day as he had been attending to dignitaries all day.
Chairman of NUJ, Lagos chapter also lent credence to this, saying it was due to a mistake on their part.