Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday said that the government would continue to demolish shanties across the state.
Sanwo-Olu said this during the Security Stakeholders Town Hall Meeting at Ikeja, adding that the state government would also confiscate abandoned buildings.
He said that the shanties, abandoned buildings and vehicles were hideouts for criminals, hence, should be tackled.
Sanwo-Olu said the government had demolished several hundreds of shanties and illegal structures around the state since November 2020.
”These shanties, by serving as hideouts for criminals, have exacerbated the insecurity situation in Lagos State.
”This clean up exercise will continue, even as we strive to ensure the creation of jobs and economic opportunities that will take people off the streets and give them the wherewithal to afford decent accommodation.
”In the context of security, is to ensure that we contain and arrest every form of aggression and crime that threatens the development, progress and growth of the state.
“And by so doing improve upon the welfare and quality of life of the citizens,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said abandoned buildings and property were being monitored, as hoodlums and miscreants were converting them into crime havens, from which they plan and launch their criminal missions.
He said that the state government had commenced full implementation and enforcement of the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law of 2019 as amended.
According to him, the law prohibits the abandonment of buildings, whether under construction or completed, and also prohibits construction workers from remaining within the premises of buildings under construction, from 6p.m daily.
He said that government would hold property developers and owners responsible for any breaches of these laws, and would not hesitate to seal off defaulting buildings.
The governor said that fibre optic cables were being rolled out to support the deployment of CCTV cameras that would help ensure that high-risk crime areas were kept under round-the-clock surveillance.
He said that to embed more technology into the security architecture, the state unveiled the use of body-worn cameras for law-enforcement agents in a bid to enhance the capacity and productivity in fighting crime.
”We will be relaunching the Lagos State Residents Card very soon, to ensure that the database of Lagos residents is kept up-to-date.
”This database will form a critical part of our security architecture, as it will ensure that we know who is who, at any point in time,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He said that the state government was determined to eradicate cultism as a security challenge, hence, had signed into law the Prohibition of Unlawful Societies and Cultism Act of 2021.
The governor said that the law prescribed a 21-year jail term for convicted cultists.
According to him, the new law strengthens the penalties applicable to cultists, and expands coverage to the entire society, unlike the old law which was restricted to cultism by students of tertiary institutions.
”Cultism is a major security problem confronting us in Lagos State, and we have in recent times seen an advent of criminal gangs unleashing violence and mayhem in and around the state.
”With the passage of this new law, it will help in widening the dragnet in the hunt and prosecution of these nefarious gangs intent on sowing fear and chaos in the state,” he said.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, said that the stakeholders’ engagement was proactive, given a string of security breaches in the country.
Omotoso said that gone were the days when citizens were at the mercy of pickpockets and amateur criminals; as the contemporary crimes were being committed by armed robbers, bloodsucking bandits and daredevil gangsters.
”We don’t want our Lagos to become an epicentre of evil and criminality,” he said.
At the end of the stakeholders’ meeting, a 12-point resolution was reached and agreed upon by the participants in the public interest.
The resolution reads in part: “Attacks on law enforcement officers and agencies should not be handled with kid gloves. Culprits must be arrested and the full weight of the law brought to bear on such persons.
“Government must take stringent measures to ban the use of Okada as means of transportation in the state; alternatives must be provided by the state government in agriculture, wealth creation, women affairs empowerment programmes and others.
“Government should take control of abandoned and uncompleted buildings used as hideouts of criminals in the State immediately.
“The state must take control of abandoned vehicles in its nooks and crannies and seal off houses, hotels and event centres where hoodlums are found to hibernate or where arms are stored.”