Tenth Town Hall Meeting on security with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode
Report by the Executive Secretary /Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), Dr. Abdurrazaq Balogun
When you look around the city of Lagos today, it is difficult not to immediately notice the footprint of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), especially in the area of mobility for our police and other security forces. This is the direct result of His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s government support of the Fund (in line with its tripod strategy of security, job creation and improved infrastructure) and that of our partners in the private sector.
In the past one year, the Lagos State Government has donated a whopping N1.6 billion worth of security equipment (cars, motorbikes, bulletproof vests, ballistic helmets, riders gear, and so on) to the Lagos State Police Command and other security agencies. Apart from the desire to provide 6,000 additional CCTV cameras, the government has renovated the fuel dump of the Lagos Police Command; with this development, the Lagos State Police Command now receives a steady supply of petrol and diesel for their operations. Other security-related actions by government include provision of street lights (under the massive “Light up Lagos Project’’), clearing of illegal structures, confiscation of abandoned buildings and vehicles, Clearing of the creeks in the state waterways especially around pipeline installations, and many more actions that have positively impacted on the state of security in our beloved State. It is pertinent to note that the government also intervene trough the creation of special purpose vehicles such as ‘’Operation Awatse” which is a joint military outfit to dislodge criminals from the creeks, particularly in Ikorodu which have been very volatile in recent times, to safeguard oil pipelines and forestall the use of those locations as holding bay by kidnappers.
The Contributions from our partners in the private sector translated to the provision of 40 vehicles and the very critical maintenance and repairs of asset belonging to security agencies. Maintenance and repair are major components which ensure that our security infrastructure keeps running, and from December 2015 to date we have spent about N90 million on overhaul, refurbishment, maintenance and replacement of parts for more than 240vehicles directly in our care. This is just a modest expenditure resulting from the prudent manner the Fund operates, as the demands of the police are much more. We also provided other items such as batteries, rain gear, tyres, base radios, ballistic helmets, bulletproof vests, metal detectors, base radios, walkie talkies, repeater communication equipment, riders gear, disposable gloves and other items critical to the day to day operations of our security forces. We have provided training for security agents in diverse capacities including improving their relationship with the public, which has been demonstrated in the actions of the RRS as reported on various media platforms.
Specifically, we have provided for the RRS-24 patrol vehicles, 85 bulletproof vests and helmets, 60 metal detectors, 60 walkie talkies, 30 base radio sets, 460 tyres for patrol vehicles, 62 tyres for Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), 280 batteries, 60 metal detectors, the Lagos State police Command -3 patrol vehicles and 100 bulletproof vests and helmets. Also 4 vehicles each for Army, Navy and Air Force under OP MESA (a joint military unit – Army, Navy, Air Force)< 3 additional vehicles to the Army for Operation Awatse (situated in the creeks around the Ikorodu axis), 10 complete set of riders gear for the Zone 2 Police formation, provision of the a new digital communication system with repeaters and walkie talkies for the Department of State Security, provision of a brand new truck in addition to the refurbishment of the a Toyota Coaster bus for the Nigerian Prisons Service, 1 patrol vehicle each for Explosive Ordinance Dispersal, Aguda plice station, Marine Police. The Fund has also refurbished and revitalized several vehicles including 4 Armoured personnel Carriers (APCs) and 8 vehicles for the RRS, 5 vehicles for the Federal Road Safety Corps, 4 for the Department of State Security, in addition to continuous repairs/maintenance of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and patrol vehicles of various security agencies by the fund. The fund provides fueling for Marine Police and Navy operations as well on a monthly.
As a result of the interventions by the Lagos State Government donation of N1.6 billion in assets and that of our partners in the private sector of N440 million in cash and 19 vehicles, the operations of our security agencies in the period under review were greatly improved.
For example, I am sure a number of people here will remember the case of the murdered of a 50 year old woman, Mrs. Mabel Mba Okafor, who was leaving alone in Victoria Garden City, Ajah in August 2016. The RRS during the course of their investigation traced and arrested the culprit in Bali, Taraba State and recovered the loot.
Also the police arrested a man in Ajegunle known as Elewure who confessed that he has about 52 robbers and kidnappers working for him and that he had stolen over 4000 phones.
In addition, 46 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 were arrested around Agidingbi area of the state when they went on rampage disposing people of their belongings. They were later discovered to be members of the ‘’Awawa” cult.
These are only a few examples of the work done by our security agents this year and I believe we must all be grateful to these men and women that put themselves in arms way for our collective good.
Nigeria is officially in a recession, which means that earning are shrinking. Unfortunately the security implication of this situation is that as it gets difficult to make an honest living, a few more people may try illegitimate and sometimes violent ways of getting wealth. This means our security agencies need to be more vigilant and better equipped to be proactive, and also able to combat these evil doers in the event of a security breach. We should also remember that improved security in the state has encouraged so many more individuals and organizations to migrate to Lagos and these migrants, though mostly honest and law abiding, will come with a few who will challenge our security infrastructure.
We must be mindful that security is a recurrent expenditure, which is very expensive! Security equipment is expensive to acquire, maintain and also replace in the event of damage in the course of duty. New York City with a population of just over 8 million people had, in 2015, a budget of $4.8 billion for the NYPD which using the conversion rate of N150.00/$1, amounts to N720 billion. It is instructive to note that the NYPC already has over 8,800 vehicles (which have on board computers, 8 helicopters and other updated equipment. In 2015, the total budget for Lagos State was N489.69 billion with a population of 20 million. Another fast growing city like Lagos is Johannesburg with a population of about 4 million people and a budget equivalent in Naira of N12 billion for 2015 alone.
Our experience has shown what our collective resolve is capable of achieving and we must remember that there is still is no viable alternative to the security structure we have established in Lagos State as Government cannot do it alone. Security is indeed everybody’s business.
Therefore, as we enter into what may yet be another challenging year, we must resolve to uphold the funding structure we have jointly created in response to the inability of the Federal Government to effectively fund its security forces.
Our focus at the Fund is on developing a more powerful and responsive police force while injecting new strategies that are technology driven to achieve a more robust and effective security cover for Lagos State.
Simple put we intend to:
Increase the number of police vehicles on our roads from about 500 to 1000
To fuel and maintain the existing and additional fleet of vehicles
Inject 20 more fully equipped patrol boats to the fleet of the Marine Police
Build the capacity of the Police Air patrol unit to be more effective and responsive
Purchase tracking devices and intelligence equipment
Provide anti-riot equipment to minimize fatal clashes with violent protesters
Better kit the security agents (with uniforms, boots, bulletproof vests, ballistic helmets, scanners etc)
Modern anti-bomb equipment
In other to achieve the above targets there is need to urgently broaden the donor base of the Fund. We need to think differently. Corporate organizations and individuals should consider making consistent annual donations to the Fund as this will go a long way in strategic planning by the Fund.
We must all as a matter of urgency pledge to make substantial donations to the Fund to secure not only our lives and property but the future of our children and loved ones.
I wish to emphasize that the reality is that most of the equipment used by our security agencies are imported and the prices of these items have gone up between 60% to 200% from last year. For instance, Toyota Hilux and Corolla that cost N6.9 million and N6 million respectively last year now cost N14.5 million and N12 million today, the price of a bulletproof vest has gone up form N150,000.00 to N280,000.00 (some better engineered vests even go for almost N400,000.00). Hence there is need to gather resources timely so that we can hedge against inflationary trends.
As always, we are grateful for the support of the Lagos State Government under the leadership of His Excellency Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and other organizations and individuals who have supported us over the years. While we look forward to your continued support, it is our sincere anticipation that more organizations and individuals will play their part by contributing to this critical venture and good course, which seeks to provide improved security for the prosperity of all in Lagos State.
This report is an appraisal of the security situation and activities of the Security and Law Enforcement Institutions in Lagos State, covering the period between December 2015 when the 9th Twon Hall Meeting was held and 30th November 2016.
2. Against the backdrop of numerous challenges (which will be highlighted thereafter), the state witnessed tremendous improvement in crime management during the peiod under review. In assessing the state of safety and security, Lagos can be adjudged as relatively peaceful and secured. At the 2016 lecture series of Security Watch Africa (SWA) organised in partnership with Security Institue for Governance and Leadership in Africa (SIGLA), held in South Africa, the State was ranked the “Best Security and Most Safety Conscious State in Africa’’.
3. The Remarkable achievements recorded during the peiod include:
a. The successful prevention of armed robbery at any of the bank, financial and other commercial business places.
b. The arrest, on 17th March 2016, at Seme border of Tokiwe Joseph, alias ‘TK’, with eleven members of his gang. ‘TK’ was the leader of a dreaded and notorious gang that specialised in robberies of banks and other financial institutions, kidnapping, murder, pipeline vandalization and illegal oil bunkering in Lagos, Ondo, Edo and Delta States. He was on the wanted list of the Security Agencies for almost 4 years. In his exploit to carry out robbery operation at some Bureau de Change and banks in Seme boarder and Benin Republic, he was repelled by gallant Security Operatives, drawn from the different Security Agencies. ‘TK’ and 11 members of his gang fell to the superior firing power of the Security Agents assisted by patriotic members of the public. Items recovered from the gang include 3 boats purposely built for the criminal exploit; 2 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG), 4 AK-47 Rifles; 22 pieces of dynamites; 3678 rounds of live ammunition of different calibres; 28 AK-47 magazines; assorted pieces of charms and one Military magazine jacket.
c. Rescue and facilitation of the release of the kidnapped students of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary, Ikorodu; Government Model School, Igbonla; Oba Goriola Oseni, the Oniba of Iba; and other victims of kidnapping in the state.
d. The arrest and arraignment in Court of suspects involved in the above kidnap cases, who are presently remanded in Prison custody.
e. The foiling of the kidnap of an Hotelier at Ijede and arrest of the nine (9) suspected Kidnappers involved, with recovery of two (2) AK-47 and Ninety (90) rounds of AK-47 ammunition.
f. The arrest of the armed robbers who confessed to the armed robbery attack, in Jos, Plateau State of the father of Ogenyi Onazi, a member of the National Football Team, including the recovery of the care robbed from the victim.
g. The arrest at Adamawa State, of Abdulateef Tanko, the suspect who confessed to the murder of Mrs. Mabel Okafor at Victoria Gardan City (VGC), Lagos
h. The arrest of the leader of the kidnapping Gang involved in the kidnap, in Ogun State of Senator Iyabo Anisulowo.
i. The professional handling of Students unrest at the University of Lagos on 8th April 2016, without usage of any lethal weapon, including tear gas and without recording any casualty.
j. The recovery, through credible information from patriotic members of the public in Festac of: 2AK47 Rifles; One Thousand And Sixty (1060) rounds of 7.62mm and 7.65mm live ammunition; Twenty-Four (24) AK-47 and One Brownie Pistol Magazines; and a face mask.
k. Ensuring the security of the Access Bank Lagos Marathon and the maiden “One Lagos Fiesta/Countdown’’
4. On behalf of the Service Commanders of all the Security and Law Enforcement Institutions in the State, I hereby seize this opportunity to express our appreciation to the State Government for investing massively in security. To the good people of Lagos State, we thank you for your strong partnership.
5. The physical and cultural environment of the State remains the major elements, which influenced the nature and pattern of crimes and criminalities recorded during the period under review. These include:
a. Upsurge in human and vehicular migration into the state: According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), Lagos is the fastest-growing city in the world, with a growth of 85 people per hour. The population growth of Lagos is reported to be faster than that of London and New York put together, with the two cities growing at a rate of 9 and 10 people per hour respectively. Various studies have shown that population growth increases the crime rate (per capita). Larger cities are said to be characterised by anonymity, which factor influences crimes and criminalities.
b. Vastness of the waterways, Swampy Terrain and Numerous Creeks: Lagos is unarguably a littoral State. Criminal elements take advantage of the waterways, difficult swampy terrain with thick forest serving as protective cover and the non-navigable hidden water/stream to carry out their nefarious activities. The creeks are used as safe-haven and for keeping abducted victims.
c. Host to Oil Pipeline:
d. Proliferation of Weapons:
e. Refusal to be Gainfully Employed and Societal Apathy to Civic Obligations:
6. One, if not, a combination of all the aforementioned factors, contributed to the major crimes, which made headline in the State during the period under review. Statistics of major crimes and achievements recorded is attached hereto.
7. Analysis of the statistics indicate that:
a. Three Hundred and fitity-five (355) distress calls of allegation of armed robbery was received. Eighty-five (85) were found to be false calls, while one hundred and sevent-nine (66%) were prevented due to swifty response. Ninety-one (91) could not be prevented. Areas within Ogba Area Police Command (Ifako-Ijaiye and Agege LGAs and part of Ojodu LCDAs) accounted for the highest number.
b. Fifty-One (51) cases of kidnapping were recorded, with Ijede Police Area Command (largely within Lagos East Senatorial District) accounting for the highest number (47%). This may not be unconnected with the physical and cultural environment of the area. Most of the communities affected can be easily accessed through the many hidden water/streams and they also have oil pipeline run through them.
c. Two Hundred and Forty-Six (246) cases of murder were recorded. Deaths occasioned by cultism, gangsterism, youths restiveness and street fights ranked highest. The menance is most prevalent in areas within Ijede, Morogbo and Surulere Police Area Commands respectively. This cut across the three Senatorial Districts in the State. Clashes are mainly for supremacy as well as claim to territories for the purpose of collecting illegal levies from business owners and motorists. The Gangsters are sometimes employed to settle scores of various types and use as foot soldiers by some very important personalities (VIPs) in the society. Identified Groups include: ‘Aye’, ‘Eiye’, ‘Awawa Boys’, and One Million Boys’. Two groups- ‘Owonikoko and Happiness’ are made of members, with ages between 10 and 14 years.
d. Five Hundred and Forty-Two (542) different brand of motor vehicle were reportedly stolen. 65% of the cars were either removed from where parked or driven away by Drivers employed by unsuspecting individuals.
e. A total of Four Hundred and Eighty-Six (486) Armed Robbery suspects were arrested, while forty-six (46) lost their lives during confrontation with the Police. In the same vein, Thirty-Eight (38) suspected kidnappers were arrested, while one hundred and eighty –one (181) suspects were arrested in connection with Cultism and Street Fights.
f. Two Hundred and Thirteen (213) different types of firearms were recovered with Two Thousand, Nine Hundred and One (2901) rounds of ammunition and cartridges of different calibres. A total of Two Hundred and Ninety-Three (293) motor vehicles of different brands were recovered.
8. One Hundred and Eighty (180) cases of Domestic and Sexual violence were reported to the Police. Eighteen (18) are domestic violence cases while One Hundred and Sixty-Two (162) are rape/defilement. Convictions of punishment ranging from 3 to 13 years imprisonment were secured from Four (4) of the cases, while trial in the remaining cases are at one stage of hearing or the other.
9. While every effort was made to ensure that officers and other Ranks conduct themselves in the best manner as well as respect the fundamental rights of the citizens in the discharge of their statutory duties, it is a common knowledge that some still engaged in criminal acts and vices that make members of the public lose confidence in the Police. Appropriate disciplinary actions were taken against such non-conformists, including criminal prosecution of those found culpable of criminal offences. In addition, a weekly re-orientation training was introduced and Two thousand and Twenty (2020) personnel have so far been trained on the principles of democratic policing.
10. At this juncture permit to pay homage to colleagues who lost their lives in serving our fatherland. The Police lost six personnel during the period under review. It is our prayers that their souls rest in perfect peace, while God grant their respective families the courage to bear the painful loss.
11. It is our pledge that we shall continue to put to the best use, the resources made available to the Force. We shall continue to ensure a more secured and safer city for the realisation of the fundamental objectives of the Government. In the discharge of its statutory duties, the Police in the State will abide by the Police Creed as set out by the Inspector-General of Police and ensure the observance of:
a. International core values of policing with integrity;
b. The rule of law;
c. Respect to diversity and demonstration of professionalism;
d. Principles of democratic policing, and
e. Zero tolerance to corruption.
12.I wish to express our gratitude to His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, the Executive Governor of Lagos State for the confidence reposed in the Security Agencies and the provision of the wherewithal to facilitate the discharge of our duties. Our appreciation also goes to the Chairman and the distinguished members of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund, partners in the administration of criminal justice, other critical stakeholders and once again the good people of Lagos State. To all Officer and other Ranks of the Security and Law Enforcement Agencies, I commend your courage, steadfastness, dedication to duty and loyalty to our father land. Our gratitude also goes to the Inspector-General of Police, Service Chiefs of the Armed forces of Nigeria and Service Chiefs of other Sister Agencies for your superior guidance.
Finally, to God Almighty, all the glory.
Please, if you see something, say something.