Stakeholders in the security architecture of Lagos have raised concerns over the influx of people into the state without proper identification, saying the development is already impacting on peaceful co-existence of residents, as well as brewing suspicion.
This is as the state governor; Babajide-Olu has said that the state government would be adopting technology in the fight against crimes and criminality so as to keep the state save for residents and businesses.
At the 13th security town hall meeting held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, on Tuesday, with heads of various security agencies and experts in attendance, the stakeholders also raised concerns about the continuing ‘invasion’ of Lagos by motorcycles and tricycles, just as they pointed to the activities of transportation unions, including the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), as adding to further raise the level of insecurity in the state.
“The steady influx of people into Lagos without any form of identification is brewing suspicion amongst its residents. This is putting a strain on the long established relations that has ensured peaceful co-existence amongst the diverse people of Lagos, said Abdurrazaq Balogun, the executive secretary of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), the organisers of the town hall meeting.
According to Balogun, intelligence so far gathered revealed the human influx and mutual suspicion is more pronounced in such areas as Ikeja, Agege, Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Lekki, Sangotedo, Abule-Egba, among others.
Similarly, a former commissioner for transportation, and the environment in Lagos, Muiz Banire, pointed to the issue of abandoned and uncompleted buildings, which serve as hideout for criminals. Banire called on the state government to consider taking over long abandoned property and vehicles, to discourage the practice.
Chairman, board of trustees of the LSSTF, Hassan-Odukale, noted that the issue of crime required joint effort, adding, however, that the LSSTF would not stop promoting the fight against crimes.
“After 12 years, our Trust Fund is still very relevant as we continue to provide critical support for the police and other security agencies. This is because our esteemed donors have continued to contribute to the Fund. This continuous support is not only a vote of confidence in LSSTF but recognition that our collective resolve to continue the fight against crime is an absolute necessity,” said Hassan-Odukale at the event whose theme was “transformational security.’
Hakeem Odumosu, the Commissioner of Police in the state, who reeled out figures of arrested armed robbers, kidnappers and other criminals, said his command was deploying plainclothes policemen on the roads to check cases of traffic robbery and apprehend perpetrators.
Meanwhile, Governor Sanwo-Olu, who spoke the new role for the LSSTF, revealed the government’s plan to build a one-stop technology hub where data will be collated for efficiency in the handling of security issues.
“The trust fund will be taking a higher responsibility and new initiatives will take place. We are going to build a smart city project. We will use technology to ensure that the state remains safe. We will build data rooms and install lots of security cameras across the state. Other security apparatus will be complementing the work of the police.”
He said Lagos was also working with the neighbouring Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Osun and Ondo to strengthen borders and state-to-state security.
“In partnership with all the states in the South-western region, a regional security outfit code-named ‘Amotekun’, has been established to combat banditry and kidnapping. This group will work interstate and all modern gadgets and facilities will be provided. It will make it impossible for anyone to abscond to the neighbouring states after an offence in one state.
He further explained that his administration was revamping the Lagos Command and Control Centre, with focus on the youth of the state to ensure that they are placed in a position to voluntarily shun cultism.
“Very importantly, we are fully aware of the nexus between young people and security, and therefore very much focused on putting young people at the centre of our security strategy. To this end, we are engaging the youth and educational institutions, right from primary school level, in order to empower them to shun criminality, and to help them build skills to be active and responsible citizens.” Sanwo-Olu, therefore, called for support for the various law enforcement agencies to help them discharge their duties more effectively.