February 26, 2019

Policing Lagos: The task before CP Muazu Zubairu

By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor

Lagos, the acclaimed centre of excellence, could be said to be lucky with the calibre of Police officers posted to the state of aquatic splendour.



In fact, the Nigerian Police Force seems to have a  penchant for sending their very best to man affairs in the city.  Examples abound  in this regard  including Abubakar Tsav who became an activist in retirement; the erudite Sunday Aghedo; Mike Okiro who also became IGP;  Young Arebamen who held a key political position in Lagos State until his recent death;  Israel Ajao who  still heads the  Neighbourhood Watch; Ade Ajakaiye; Bashiru Azeez; Emmanuel Adebayo who later became king  in Ekiti state; Muhammed Abubakar, who also  became  IGP; Marvel Akpoyibo, who is now an Advocate and Solicitor; Umaru Manko; Kayode Aderanti; Fatai Owoseni and recently,  Imohimi Edgal.

These officers recorded enviable feats on the job.  Some  even ended up becoming Inspectors-General of Police while some became traditional rulers  after retiring.  At a stage, the stakes were so high to the extent that people generally believed that once you are posted to Lagos  either as a Commissioner of Police or an Assistant Inspector-General of Police, it’s automatic to be elevated to the number one position in the force.

Alas, that was how police postings to Lagos became somewhat a lucrative venture in the force.  It also turned out to be what is used to gauge the performance of all police administrations in the country as it eventually wore the toga of numero uno in policing duties.

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Today, Imohimi Edgal no longer heads Lagos State Police Command. He has been succeeded by   Zubairu Muazu who, according to authorities, ‘’has all  it takes to lead the command. His record is as enviable as it is  encouraging and will, no doubt, go a long way in assisting him in policing the state successfully.”

However, without  belabouring the point, he needs the wisdom of Solomon in order to tackle security requirements of  Lagos State. First, he should be able to decisively fight the hydra-headed issue of cleansing the fabled augean stable comprising Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers in the 124  operational  areas in the state.

Indisputably, his success will largely depend on how easily he handles this task.  A Commissioner of Police that keeps his  divisions on their toes 24/7, has the ability to checkmate, not just  their excesses, but fight crime to a standstill. Majority of complaints against the police emanate from these divisions where these officers hold sway as lords of the manor.

This is manifest as some of them hib-nob with men of questionable means and petty tyrants who terrorize the citizenry with impunity. Inevitably, street urchins otherwise known as Area boys; cultists; land grabbers, hackers otherwise known as yahoo boys and other shady characters have infested the entire state like an epidemic. These, to a considerable extent, limit efforts of  a serving Commissioner of Police. The inappropriate dalliance with corrupt policemen whose stock in trade is to be rich at all costs in Lagos, always come to the fore and go a long way to either run down a serving Commissioner of Police or serve as a wake up call to him.

This is where much efforts should be put in galvanizing effective community policing and local vigilante outfits.  Their responsibilities and contributions towards fighting crime is inestimable and it is only a well focused officer at the head that can champion this to his credit.

A good understanding and affinity with different terrains and vicinities that make up the city is no less important so as to serve as a guide towards monitoring the activitites of officers at all levels.  A situation where much trust is placed on information from officers at lower levels without commensurate intelligence network leads to misplacement of justice and in effect, breeds discontentment between the people and police.

Essentially, the aforementioned limitations compel  a healthy relationship between  the  Commissioner and  the media which hopefully would keep him on his toes.  An unrestrained robust relationship with the media is a sine-qua-non towards lauching an effective and efficient war against crime and criminality in Lagos state, nay Nigeria.

Any singular act of sidelining the press, either as a result of bureaucracy, officialdom or jaundiced security reasons, definitely spells doom for any security helmsman in Lagos.

This is because Lagos serves as a citadel of media activities and the economic hub of the country and whenever the Lagos sneeze or coughs, the reverbrating effect and boomerang is seriously felt in all spheers, nationally and internationally.   Policing Lagos should never end with sending sugar-conted sitreps to Abuja and expecting a pat on the back while the city boils.

To a large extent, the success of serving Inspectors-General of Police in Nigeria is always measured by the success of  State Police Commissioners  in major cities in the country especially, Lagos state.    This is why CP Zubairu Muazu, who was recently posted to Lagos should set the ball rolling and zero in recording an envaible success during his tenure.