April 1, 2017

Our second layer of policing Lagos, by Ambode

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode; Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule and Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, with the newly unveiled Neighbourhood Safety Corps logo during the inauguration of the Corps in Lagos.

It takes a deep thinker and doer to interprate the nexus between community policing and rural development. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State aptly did the interpretation when he posited that development cannot take place in an atmosphere devoid of safety and security.

Ambode launched the rebranded Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps, last week, to secure lives and property across the state and inaugurated some road projects and bridge in the hitherto forgotten Aboru and Abesan communities.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode; Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule and Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, with the newly unveiled Neighbourhood Safety Corps logo during the inauguration of the Corps in Lagos.

At the occasion to rebrand the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps, held at Agege Stadium, 177 saloon cars and vehicles equipped with communication gadgets, 377 motorcycles, 377 helmets, 4,000 bicycles, metal detectors to stop illegal weapons from being smuggled into public places, among other  equipment, were handed over to the Corps by the governor.

While addressing the gathering, Ambode said the move was to enhance security all over Lagos and a vital part of the efforts of his administration to reform the security and justice sector.

The governor, who, on August 15, 2016, assented to the law creating the Neighbourhood Safety Corps, said the Corps had been designed to provide a second layer of policing in order to ensure that the state and communities are more secure.

He explained that the police had been very supportive to the state government, especially in fighting crime, but that the need for the Neighbourhood Corps arose from the security challenges confronting the state due to huge population, adding that the Corps would complement the police, especially in areas of community policing.

“Let me, however, make it abundantly clear that the Neighbourhood Safety Corps is not in any way in competition with the regular police”, Ambode said.

“In actual fact, they are expected to assist and complement the police by providing useful intelligence for crime prevention and to facilitate the arrest of perpetrators of criminal activities in our communities.”

He added that in realization of the fact that nothing can be more important in law enforcement than educating the people in charge of enforcing the law, the rebranded Neighbourhood Corps have been trained and equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills to complement the work of the police.

 Dispute mediation

The Corps, the governor said, were also trained on how to mediate disputes and in the art of negotiating for peaceful resolution; balancing communal interest in resolving disputes and proactive policing engagement instead of reactive policing.

“Special hotlines have also been created direct to the Executive Secretary and senior management of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency for easy communication with our communities in the event of any crime”, he said.

“Any valuable information given to the Corps will attract handsome rewards from the State Government. I therefore call on all Lagosians to join hands with us to say a final NO to crime in our state.

“All these equipment have been made possible through the judicious use of tax payers’ money and funds from the State Lottery Fund for good causes. Please continue to pay your taxes for a better Lagos.

“I am very happy to state that through this Safety Corps initiative the State Government has created over 7,000 jobs for officers of the Corps, artisans and other support staff. Job creation is at the heart of economic prosperity and we remain fully committed to a more prosperous Lagos for our citizens.”

 ‘No to brutality’

Ambode, however, charged the Corps not to indulge in brutalizing citizens, but that they should exercise lot of restraint, patience, understanding and maturity while carrying out their duties.

Besides, the governor said in order to further strengthen security, a new executive bill to regulate employment of domestic workers and security guards would soon be forwarded to the state House of Assembly, explaining that the bill, among others, will prescribe regulations for the set of workers and other details to monitor their activities.

While noting that there is no longer any room for child abuse or underage workers, Ambode said it had been discovered that domestic workers were largely undocumented and pose security threat in the state.

He said the recruiting agencies, under the bill, would be licensed and regulated to ensure safety.

The governor handed over four vans fitted with Close Circuit Television Cameras (CCTVs) to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of Lagos State Police Command.

 Promise kept

Two days after the event, Ambode moved to Aboru and Abesan in Alimosho for the commissioning of new roads and bridge built by his administration.

Popularly referred to as Tinubu’s country, Alimosho was electrified on as residents received the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to commission the projects to mark his 65th birthday.

The locals trooped out in thousands to receive Tinubu alongside other eminent Nigerians for the commissioning including Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola; former Governor Isiaka Adeleke; Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Idiat Adebule; former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Chief Femi Pedro; Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola; Senator Ibrahim Kazaure from Jigawa State; Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Mudashiru Obasa; members of the Lagos State Executive Council, lawmakers, political bigwigs, among others.

In his remarks, Ambode recalled his visit to the Aboru area in March 2016, saying that aside the state of the road, which was totally unacceptable, there were reports of deaths and accidents caused by a valley, adding that he immediately directed that work should commence in the area.

“Exactly one year after, we are here to keep our promise to the good people of Aboru, Abesan and other communities and reaffirm our commitment that no community or area will be left behind. Every Lagosian counts. We are a government of inclusion,” the Governor said.

He said the 480 metres bridge linking Aboru to Abesan, in the Agbado Oke-Odo Local Council of Alimosho Local Government Area, would significantly ease the burden of travel between the two communities.

The governor said aside the bridge, adjoining inner roads to aid connectivity  were also constructed.

He listed the roads to include Church Street, Giwa Street, Victor Fagbemi Road, Ogunfayo Road, Ogundare Street, Salami Kazeem, all totalling 5.5km with drainage, walkways and street lights, adding that the road network would ease the pressure on the Abeokuta Expressway and links residents with Iyana Ipaja, LASU-Iba Expressway.

Ambode also flagged off the construction of a network of roads within the boundaries of Lagos and Ogun States, saying that it was in honour of  Tinubu, whom he described as the brain behind the 21st century Lagos.

He expressed optimism that the roads for immediate construction would complete the new face of Alimosho constituency, saying that work would commence within one week.

He listed the roads to include Ikola Road with Odo Obasanjo Bridge – 6.4km (from Ipaja/Command to Ilo River); Ogunseye Road – 1.75km (from Ajasa/Command to Ikola Road);Oko Filling Road – 1.5km (from AIT to Ilo River); Osenatu Ilo road – 620m (from Ibari Road to Ilo River); Amikanle road – 3.1km (from AIT to Ogunseye Road); Aina Aladi road – 1.9km (from AIT to Ilo River) and Aiyetoro Road with a bridge– 1.4km (from New Market/Ishefun Road intersection to Ilo River).

 Claim debunked

Representatives of the people spoke glowingly about the positive impact of the projects.

Chairman of Mosan Okunola Community Development Association (CDA), Pastor Gbenga Adanri, used the opportunity of the occasion to debunk insinuation that the people of the area were not happy with the Ambode government and even protested, saying there was nothing of such.

“I like to debunk the untrue impression that we are not happy with Governor Ambode. There is no truth in it. I don’t know where that is coming from and I must say here that we the people are very happy with him. We are happy because our roads have been put in proper shape and we now have a bridge to travel seamlessly within Aboru and Abesan”, Adanri said.

On his part, Tinubu poured accolades on Ambode over his sterling performance in the last 22 months, saying that the Governor has made him proud. He said the achievements of Ambode in office was a reflection of a Governor who is not only a thinker but a doer, and expressed satisfaction that he was delivering on the promises to the people.

Apart from the roads and bridge, the former governor also commissioned a primary healthcare centre named after him and donated to Aboru by the contractor who handled the projects.

He said: “Akinwunmi Ambode has reflected that he is clearly a thinker and doer. I want to say thank you because experience is a great teacher and I am experienced. I am on the spot and I have watched things in Lagos since my tenure ended.

“I was worried hell when you (Ambode) took over, not about your credibility, character or capacity, but because however wise or smart a man is, if there is no resources to back the ideas, production would be zero, progress would be zero.

“When you (Ambode) took over, I know you inherited a burden of debt. The debt profile of Lagos was high, I was wondering how you will re-engineer and face the challenges to make progress.

“Today, I can see your report card, you have scored well, and you have shown prudency especially in the judicious use of resources of the State.

“You didn’t disappoint us. Ambode is silently achieving, meticulously planning, religiously executing and brilliantly giving results for Lagos State.

“Today, you (Ambode) have given me a good birthday present. This is a great opportunity for me to be very proud again. Therefore, if we can continue in this direction of infrastructural development in the manner Governor Ambode is moving, Lagos will soon match international states or country anywhere in the world” Tinubu said.

Also, Aregbesola and Adeola said it was obvious that Ambode started well and is doing well, and solicited the cooperation of the people to engender further dividends of democracy and good governance.