By Emma Nnadozie
From tomorrow, Lagos State will begin experiencing the presence of Police Commissioner Hakeem Olusegun Odumosu. His posting was announced weekend, by the Inspector-General of Police amid speculations of underground scheming over who takes control of the state after the elevation of the outgoing CP as an AIG.
CP Odumosu is taking over a command that has, in so short a time, after the exit of CP Imohimi Edgal, degenerated rapidly in crime fighting and detection. The era of CP Edgal was so glorious that Lagosians prayed fervently for a new police helmsman, whose pedigree in crime-fighting will not only equal his but surpass it. Unfortunately, the reverse was the case as crime rates escalated so much so that Lagosians were openly yearning for another CP Edgal. Though the alleged lobby was so stiff as a result of the credible track records of those mentioned, the IGP, in his wisdom, ended up picking CP Odumosu to fill the gap.
The choice of CP Odumosu, to all who know him is not only enviable but deserving, going by his track records. There is no doubt that it will go a long way to satisfy the hunger by Lagosians for a pragmatic, dogged and focused crime fighter.
Recall that in the middle part of the 90s, violent crime in Lagos State was at its peak with the attendant killing of prominent people like Pa Alfred Rewane in 1995 and others forcing the then Deputy Commissioner of Police, Administration, Sunday Aghedo to draft a proposal to the then Military Administrator of the state, Col. Olagunsoye Oyinlola on the need to set up a state security outfit. Having favourably considered the proposal, Oyinlola formed the Operation Sweep outfit to nip in the bud rampaging.
The first coordinator of the outfit was Major Andrew Audu of the 19th Battalion, Ikeja. Between 1997 and 1998, under the regime of Col Buba Marwa, two commanders coordinated the activities of the outfit. First was Squadron Leader Babatunde, who took over from Audu. Next was Major Mimiko of the 19th Battalion. Mimiko was at the helm of affairs until 1999 when the outfit was christened Rapid Response Squad, RRS, by the then democratic government of Governor Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
Tinubu, in line with democratic tenets, virtually withdrew all the military personnel attached to the outfit. This was how late Babatunde Sobulo was appointed as the Commander. Sobulo was in charge till 2005 when Hakeem Olusegun Odumosu was appointed as the commander. His appointment as the outfit Commander, in the words of a senior crime reporter, Folorunsho Atta, was not “unconnected with his exploits” at the state Task Force on Environmental Offences. Odumosu was to be re-appointed in 2007 by the Babatunde Fashola-led government.
He remained the longest served Commander of the outfit spending over seven (7) years. It was his credible performance that inspired the then Governor Fashola to equip the outfit with 2 helicopters, several patrol vehicles, security gadgets and payments of allowances to the operatives of the outfit by the state government. Allowances were not only paid as and when due but operatives of the outfit had their welfare and well-being properly taken care of by state government, traceable to Odumosu’s leadership style.
As the Task Force Chairman, Odumosu, never compromised. Several organisations, market leaders and individual had, during his chairmanship of the Task Force, attempted inducing him with financial gratifications, but he never bulged, AttahAttah further stated.”
I am very optimistic that the cooperation of the state government, the people of Lagos state, stakeholders in security matters and the press, Odumosu who has been part of the success stories of several commissioners of police, CPs, he will certainly succeed and restore peace, tranquility and sanity to the Centre of Excellence.”