…Okada riders, religious intolerance top security threats in Lagos- CP
…Calls for stringent review of guidelines for okada operations
….As Lagos places IPOB, Oodua Republic agitators on close watch
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, has said the threat of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, a Biafran separatist organization in Nigeria to attack soft targets in Lagos and agitators for the Oodua Republic by some Yoruba separatist groups and the threats to disrupt law and order in the state are being put on the radar of the command intelligence gathering and other security services in the state and being closely monitored.
In view of the security threats and catalogue of events and statistics of misadventure of the Okada riders, Odumosu, called on the state government to immediately review the current guidelines guiding the operation of Okada as a means of commercial transportation in the state and take decisive legal and administrative steps and policies that will curb their traffic, criminal and other nefarious activities in the state.
The police boss stated this while giving an appraisal of the security situation in Lagos, on Monday at the Stakeholders’ Meeting on Security, held in Alausa, Ikeja, organized by the state government.
This stakeholders’ meeting was aimed at putting the security agencies, communities and entire stakeholders at alert, towards making the state safer for the resident to live and carry out daily activities within ambits of the law without any apprehension or fear.
He disclosed that 192 died in 280 Okada accidents recorded by the police between January to May 7, 2021, across the state.
The paper delivered by Odumosu read in part: “One of the areas of concerns to every citizen is the current security situation in the country and the need to continuously appraise the existing strategies in Lagos State to combat the threats in order to keep the hoodlums at bay will not be out of place.
Also read: 6 newspaper vendors arrested in Imo
“In order to sustain the fight against crimes and criminalities in the state, it is gratifying to inform the gathering that, from 1st January 2021 till date, the command has been able to bring down to the barest minimal, as all indices of serious crimes, like cultism, armed robbery, kidnapping, civil unrest, violent protests and targeted attacks on Government facilities by aggrieved groups have assumed a downward trend.
“Our intelligence report revealed that, most miscreants now: Use abandoned buildings as hideouts and in most cases, initiation camp, use uncompleted buildings, dwelling house and hotels to hibernate before and after the commission of a crime, use abandoned vehicles to store their operational arms and their loots, build shanties on abandoned open spaces and convert them to their sanctuaries to commit crimes, use vehicles with covered number plates to perpetrate crimes, Illegal fabrication and possession of arms, use of tinted vehicles to commit crimes.”
As a panacea to the above challenges, Odumosu, implored the state government to as a matter of urgency, take drastic steps to curtail the identified security threats, such steps may include but not limited to: Immediate taking over of the abandoned/uncompleted buildings by the state government, immediate confiscation of abandoned vehicles found to be used by hoodlums to perpetuate their acts, immediate sealing up of any dwelling house, hotels, etc, being used by the criminals as a hideout and/or launching pad, to locate owners of abandoned open lands converted to sanctuaries by criminals, give an ultimatum to develop such lands. Where the owner default the Government is strongly advised to revoke titles to such lands, and take it over for overriding public interest and security of the State, among others.
Odumosu stated that robbery in traffic constitutes another security challenge encountered by the command.
He said in recent weeks the command had been inundated with complaints of robbery in traffic, tactical teams of the command had been deployed to tackle this headlong with 65 of such suspects arrested in the past four weeks. “However, the command’s hands in prosecuting them are being tied by JUSUN strike,” he lamented.
As a corollary to this, he appealed to the state government to take further steps at resolving the industrial action embarked upon by the judicial workers, JUSUN, in the state which he said had crippled activities of the courts.
“This is seriously affecting the administration of criminal justice in the state” he stated.
“Furthermore, the threat of IPOB to attack soft targets in Lagos Is equally being put on the radar of the command intelligence gathering and other security services in the state. Strategies are being put in place to neutralize their activities.
“Similarly, the command has taken notice of agitators for the Oodua Republic by some Yoruba separatist groups and the threats to disrupt law and order in
the state. 24 of these groups have been identified and being closely monitored.
“The command is using this medium to solicit for the support of all and sundry to be vigilant at all times and report any suspicious person or movement to security agencies. Let us adopt the slogan of “when you see something, say something.”
He also expressed concern over religious intolerance being displayed by some religious leaders in causing mayhem in the state.
Odumosu recalled a particular incident where an Islamic cleric declared “Fatwa,” a ruling on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized authority, issues on a particular person which resulted in violence among residents.
He cautioned religious leaders to be guided in their preachings and utterances as such could ignite crisis and otherwise.