Crime Guard

November 5, 2017

‘CCTV footage shows apparent suicide on cable stay bridge, robbers operating on the road’

‘CCTV footage shows apparent suicide on cable stay bridge, robbers operating on the road’

Imohimi Edgal Lagos State new police commissioner


By Ademola Joseph

On October 20, an unfortunate incident occurred on the iconic cable stay 1.346km Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge in Lagos when a 40-year-old man, simply identified as Adekunle Oluseyi, jumped into the lagoon from the bridge in an obvious suicide mission. The man, who is now late, got on the bridge at about 10am on that fateful day and took off his clothes, phone, wristwatch, wallet, band and shoes before jumping into the water.   Part of the items in the wallet included Oluseyi’s two Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards which had no cash inside.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right), and the new Commissioner of Police, Lagos, Mr. Imohimi Edgal during the Commissioner’s courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Tuesday, September 5, 2017.

Many wondered what could have made Oluseyi to decide to end his life but in all of that, one instructive development happened and that was the confirmation by the Lagos Tolling Company (LTC), the operator of the bridge, that the last moment of the deceased was captured by the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras installed on the bridge.

As a matter of fact, it was when the officials of the LTC realised the development through the CCTV footage that they alerted emergency workers and, within minutes, officers of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and the Marine Police emerged on the scene and activated rescue operation. Though the victim was found dead after two days, the fact however remains that the rescue operation was carried out with the state-of-the-art equipment deployed to the scene by LASWA, LASEMA and the Marine Police. The Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos Police Command was also on ground with personnel and equipment to support with the rescue operation.

Few days before that unfortunate incident, Umueke Tagbo, the friend of music star, David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, had died in controversial circumstances to the point that the development led to back-and-forth on what actually led to his death.

But through CCTV footages, the police were able to confirm that it was the escort car of Davido that took the said Tagbo to the Lagos General Hospital.

The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Mr Imohimi Edgal, while briefing journalists on the investigation, later revealed how the CCTV footage confirmed the involvement of some people in the saga.

The CP had said: “I called for a pre-investigation meeting in my conference room. In attendance were all parties including family, friends of the deceased; those of Davido; Caroline Danjuma; the DPO and investigating officers. The meeting confirmed that the deceased Tagbo Umueke on that day met and had drinks with friends at Shisha Bar amongst whom was Davido.

“The bar tender confirmed the deceased had as much as 40 tons of Tequila and exhibited signs of drunkenness. The CCTV footage also confirmed this. Davido had told the police he had left Shisha Bar for DNA Night Club in Victoria Island without the deceased and was only informed by mutual friends of his death while he was at DNA.

“However, investigation revealed that Davido’s white Toyota Hilux escort driver, Tunde Usutu, accompanied by one Agbeje Olaoye and one Idris Busari, both Davido’s friends, took the deceased to the General Hospital, Lagos and abandoned him in his vehicle.

“The CCTV footage at the hospital picked the escort vehicle and the entire activity. The vehicle was recovered from Davido’s residence at 7, Awoshika Street, Lekki Phase 1″.

Aside the issue of the CCTV, another matter which the episode brought to the fore was the fact that the deceased was exposed to too much of alcohol, and the rate at which youths are now having access to excessive alcohol and even hard drugs was alarming and pose imminent and great danger to the security of the state.

Speaking at the quarterly town hall meeting organised by his administration, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode urged traditional rulers, community leaders and parents to stop their children, wards and subjects from drug abuse and other forms of crime, saying the call became necessary in view of the fact that the last four months of the year had set in.

“We are in October and we are going to December, naturally, when it gets to the ember months, somehow traditionally, crime rate goes up but in the last two years, we have been able to reduce crime rate when it is coming to December”, Ambode said.

“I want to appeal to all our traditional rulers and other community leaders; there is a need for us to support the Neighborhood Safety Corps. Also, our volunteers and the people should now be more vigilant and then cooperate with our security agencies to maintain law and order.   I want to reduce the crime rate to the barest minimum and I know that we are going to engage a lot of our youths in end of the year activities to make sure that peace continues to reign in Lagos”.

Similarly, in a meeting with stakeholders in the hospitality industry in Lagos, the CP (Edgal) told the operators of night clubs, beaches, hotels, bars, lounges, among others, that it was now compulsory for them to put internal security measures in place such as CCTV and gadgets to discourage drug abuse, drug peddling and other criminal activities in their establishments.

According to the CP, intelligence report indicated that there was increase in drug abuse among youths and minors, and that such was dangerous to the efforts of the state government to promote the night economy in Lagos.

Edgal said through the efforts of the state governor, the police and other security agencies have been hugely funded, aside the fact that there had been many initiatives and programmes geared toward ensuring a 24-hour economy in the state.

He said despite the successes recorded in recent time, however, there were areas to be jointly tackled by the police and operators in line with the principle of community policing and security partnership.

He said: “One of such areas is the issue of drug peddling, drug use and abuse. Intelligence report at my disposal reveals that there is increased drug peddling and drug abuse in most of our night clubs, lounges, beaches and so on across the state. Young men and women freely use narcotic substances at times in the sitting areas, at times more hidden in the toilet areas of our clubs, lounges, hotels to the knowledge of the operators but they are doing nothing about it. This is wrong”.

The CP said it had also been observed that some hotels in Lagos give rooms to minors and also sell alcoholic drinks to them, while under-aged girls were being allowed to use such establishments for prostitution, saying that such was criminal.

Going forward, Edgal said it was compulsory for operators to now install basic security gadgets such as CCTV cameras and metal detectors, among others, to effectively cover their establishments.

Also, in an interview, RRS Commander, ACP Olatunji Disu, said through the Mobile CCTV vans, helicopters and drones, among other equipment procured for the police by the Ambode administration, many crimes had been uncovered, while others were prevented with critical arrests made.

For instance, Disu said the decoy team of RRS was able to recover six vehicles stolen at gunpoint in Lagos in Enugu and arrested ten suspects with other suspects believed to be coordinating their operation from prison using technology.

Disu said: “The governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode , recently bought for us three CCTV vans and they have been put in different locations in Lagos. On about two or three occasions, it has assisted us in picking robbers robbing on the road. We sit in the van and see what is happening in the environment; we look at the roads and see whether there is congestion, especially at the bus stops; we see things happening and policemen with them will rush to the crime scene and effect arrest.

“Not only that, we use the CCTV vans to re-plan our security strategies. Everywhere we put them, we monitor policemen in the crowd to see if they are doing well or not because, at the end of the day, we come back to watch every day’s activities thereby making the men more professional knowing that we are watching them. So, they are putting in more effort to catch suspects we are looking for.”

The RRS Commander added that besides preventing crime and effecting arrest, the CCTV vans have also been deployed to accident and riot scenes to assist rescue operations, and also serve as mechanism to review activities of the emergency responders with a view to improving on areas where there are lapses.

He said: “At riot scenes, we deploy CCTV vans and we are able to see the mob when they attack the police or, when the police officers misbehave, we watch it. So, apart from catching thieves, we have been able to use the CCTV vans for various other activities.

“Like the last accident that happened under the Third Mainland Bridge where a ferry with about 21 passengers capsized, we brought in a helicopter and deployed drones to search for the victims in the waters. And we have used drone to monitor traffic. We can stay in a particular place and send the drone to locate the bottleneck in the traffic for us and through that we are able to know where the hold-up is and how to deploy our men or we find out if the traffic is caused by accident and what is happening on the road.

“Thieves have been arrested using the CCTV vans while the vans have helped to prevent crime because once potential criminals spot them, they leave the area.

“Recently, we deployed the CCTV van to Ladipo area of Lagos this time as a decoy and we only had the riders with the team. We gave them unusual setting and so some robbers around didn’t know we were there monitoring. Eventually, we saw this particular vehicle and people on the bike had passed. Through the CCTV, we noticed them; we went after them and one AK47 rifle was recovered from them. Although, they escaped, they abandoned the rifle and, with that, we were able to prevent them from committing crime which could have led to the killing of people or houses and vehicles robbed”.    The police chief advised criminal elements to relocate from Lagos or repent.

“The message here is that criminals should leave Lagos. If they are not going to stop criminal activities, they better relocate because the governor and the state Commissioner of Police are determined to stamp out crime in Lagos. For example, every crime committed in Lagos, we have the mandate to unravel it. You cannot commit crime in Lagos and run to other states, we will come after you and that we have demonstrated so many times,” the RRS Commander added.