…as Fashola urges FG to stop unconstitutional monthly deductions from state to fund the police
In furtherance his administration’s commitment to the safety of life and property, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Monday handed over 100 Hilux patrol vans, 150 motorbikes and five mobile cells to the State Police command.
Speaking at the event, Governor Fashola urged the Federal Government to stop deducting money from the State’s monthly allocations to fund the Police.
The Governor who spoke at the Car Park of the Lagos House, Ikeja, maintained that the state cannot be paying twice as it is doing enough locally not only for the Police, but also for the Prisons Service, the Immigration Service and other federal agencies in the State.
He maintained that the State Government understands its duty to give such support and would do so but must not be compelled to do so by unconstitutional means.
According to Governor Fashola, the vehicles are to assist security agents and the Prison service to convey suspects and people who have issues with criminal justice system and are only tools in aid of law enforcement and the provision of security.
“The communication equipment on those vehicles and motorcycles are also tools but on their own they can do nothing, the control room numbers that are inscribed on them are also communication tools to help members of the public to know who and when to call in terms of distress and crisis in addition to 767 and 112 emergency numbers that we have provided”, he stated.
Imploring the law enforcement agencies to put the vehicles and equipment to proper usage, the Governor reiterated that all of the numbers mean nothing unless there are dedicated men and women who choose to act professionally with the responsibility of law enforcement that is entrusted upon them.
He informed that the intention of the administration is to replace the vehicles every three years in the hope that those who use them will have the first right of refusal to also purchase them, reminding them that as they use the vehicles, they could be using vehicles that they could also buy which means if they use it well, they will inherit what they have used well.
“But beyond this, the responsibility of security personnel to act responsibly and act professionally is a lot. They must use this vehicle well; they must use these communication equipments well. The security personnel must also be diligent and they must be professional.
“Professionalism means that you must recognize that you are rendering a service and so you must do it well, render that service with a smile on your face because the tax payers with whose money the equipment are purchased are your customers. The responsibility to be professional means that in these times, you must check everything that is suspicious but you must not invent suspicion. It also means that you must not abuse your office and you must not harass citizens”, he explained.
Fashola also used the opportunity to reiterate an earlier directive and resolution of the State Security that every Divisional Police Officer must take charge of his area of operation by going around to the residents associations, the landlords associations and introduce himself to them to find out what their problems are, what their concerns are and where they express fears about security issues, he should discuss how they can be better served.
The Governor noted that security agencies must be more proactive instead of being reactive adding that citizens also have a responsibility to be vigilant and to share information with them, explaining, however, that if citizens are afraid of the security agencies, they might not pass relevant information to them.
He also cautioned the people that they must not be irritated by security checks because there is a tendency for everybody to regard himself as a big man noting that this is a time when everyone must understand that there are very challenging times ahead and around.
“We will overcome it by some patience, by some restraint and a lot of resolve to sacrifice everything that is possible to put this trying times behind us. So, I urge you not to be irritated by security checks”, he added.
Fashola also urged the Police not to embark on unnecessary checks as there is the need to find a balance, maintaining that security check may save the life of an individual or that of someone that is known.
The Governor also appealed to the citizens to show concern for the security personnel who go out and offer their lives in order to save that of the generality of the people, adding that the average resident must be humane, civil and must show some understanding of the sacrifice the security agents make.
“Let me also emphasize that in the business of security, the government has to be right all the time. The criminal has to be right only once. I also urge the people to use the 767 and 112 toll lines for the purpose they were meant for which is emergencies only”.
“As long as you clog those numbers, you may actually be denying somebody who is really in a emergency the opportunity to use it. But security alone is not guaranteed by this, it is only a step in the right direction. It requires all of us also to get into a more formal arrangement where we can identify every person, know every person, where we can keep data of every person. This is the way it is done everywhere and it should not be different here”.
“I urge citizens who have not done so; this is the time to do so. This would be a useful data base by security operatives to check and recheck. It would be data that would also help you to check people you want to employ. It would be data you want to use to do so many things and to identify and put names to faces and to check information that you have. If you don’t go out to put that information in by going to register, it would not be there when we need it most”, he said.
The Governor also appealed for increased compliance with the traffic law saying it has served a lot and achieved a lot of its objective to save life and property because as it has been reported accidents by motorcycles have dropped from 600 a month to about 100 a month and government wants them to drop further.
He added that monthly deaths by motorcycles have reduced from 15 deaths a month to about one a month and most importantly, crime committed with the use of motorcycles have dropped by over 80 percent and the state wants them to be totally eliminated but that no matter how hard , government tries, sometimes crime would be committed.
He stated that every motorist, every motorcycle, every operator of any vehicle on Lagos roads that needs to be registered with a registration plate number must do so now and tasked the Commissioner of Police to lead the charge against the use of the roads by unregistered and unidentifiable vehicles.
“The driving of a car on a highway without a plate number in any part of the world is a criminal offence and it is in Lagos State and so this is the time to begin to enforce laws that have been there that we have probably paid attention to in its non compliance, everybody must comply”
“I want to appeal to residents, all those who use vehicles, go to the licensing office nearest to you to register your vehicles so that we can have a data of who you are and what type of vehicles you are using and who owns that vehicle”.
“When crimes are committed, there is no mystery about crime solving, the solution really is access to data, so nobody can report a vehicle that is used to commit a crime and does not have a number. It can only be described as a blue, white or green vehicle of a particular brand and once it does not have that number plate then we can’t find the owner of the vehicle. This is the sense in which every body now must have a licence and registered vehicle on the road and restrain from driving on our roads without registration”, he explained.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of the State Security Trust Fund, Mr Fola Arthur- Worrey said no government at any level has been so meticulous in terms of the infusion of security value in a very calculated manner that maintains what is called minimum operational capacity at all times like the present administration in Lagos State.
He added that there is no time in the last eight years that the Rapid Response Squad or Lagos Police Command has not had the capacity to respond to whatever the situation demands, adding that the event can be considered a rebasing of the Lagos State Security capacity.
He said in 2007, the RRS was given 227 vehicles and due to constant maintenance, a particular number was still available but that those vehicles that are seven years old now have to give way and be processed for boarding to officers and men of the Squad while the new ones would fill in the gap.
He said N300million has been spent on the maintenance of the vehicles and that the event indicates that Lagos would still be the safest state in Nigeria today and that everybody would go about their business unhindered.
Also speaking, the State Police Commissioner, Umaru Manko thanked the State Government for the intervention and gave a commitment that that the State Command would make very good use of the vehicles.
In his vote of assurance after the handover, the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar who was represented by AIG Zone 2, Mamman Tsafe commended the State Government for the gesture and reiterated that if Nigeria could have several of the likes of Governor Fashola, the country would be fully secured.
The Governor later handed over the keys the patrol vans, motorcycles and mobile cells to the AIG Zone 2, Mamman Tsafe at the event which also had in attendance the Deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope- Adefulire, members of the State Executive Council, members of the State Security Trust Fund led by the Chairman, Mr. Remi Makanjuola and senior Police officers.
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MAY 5, 2014