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Up your game, Lagosians tell lawmakers


A member of the Lagos State House of Assembly addressing his constituents at one of the townhall centres

A member of the Lagos State House of Assembly addressing his constituents at one of the townhall centres

If the outcome of the recent interaction between lawmakers in Lagos State and their constituents is anything to go by, then the 40 members of the Lagos State House of Assembly have to redouble their efforts to impress their constituents.

During the stakeholders meeting themed, “Community/ Neighbourhood Policing Starts With You,” discussions and issues raised at the forum centred mainly around good governance and how to better police the grassroots.

In many of the centres, constituents expressed their desire for better representation even as they craved greater impact of government. In each of the centres, traditional rulers, security operatives, market women and men, political, religious and youth leaders formed the bulk of attendees.

Residents commended the state government for the construction of some roads during the forum at Apapa-Iganmu Local Council Development Area, even though they maintained that two of the roads were shabbily done. They also appealed to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, to release the compensation for buildings and shops demolished to make way for road projects.

While Alhaja R.A Bello, who claimed government has not done anything for owners of the demolished houses, called for prompt action in this regards, as well as a recall of sacked street sweepers, Prince Kayode Obadiya, wants the state government to urgently do something about the dilapidated Badiya/Ireti Primary School.

Elder statesman and popular columnist, Bisi Lawrence, who cautioned youths of Badiya against gang fighting, took a swipe at the Nigerian Police, for not being helpful to the residents, saying the people have lost confidence in them.

He advised the state government to compensate those whose houses were demolished for the purposes of road expansion, as many of them are breadwinners in their respective families.

Another resident, Jimoh Olawale, lamented that the LCDA has no senior secondary school, while the only health centre there is dilapidated. Like Alhaja Bello, an All Progressives Congress (APC) elder, Mr. Christopher Anago, also urged the reabsorption of sacked street sweepers, because the meagre salaries (of between N7, 500 and N10, 000) they earned should not be a burden to the government.

Lawmaker representing Apapa Constituency Two, Olumuyiwa Jimoh, who said the compensation for demolished houses was ready, informed that issues that led to the delay include the fact that those that came for the compensation were more than the 381 houses demolished. He also explained that the sack of the street sweepers was caused by the prevailing economic recession in the country, which has affected government’s income.

On the issue of state police, which some stakeholders canvassed, Jimoh said it was beyond the state government, adding that the assembly has passed the Neighbourhood Watch Law, as an alternative to state police.

According to him, the purpose of the stakeholders’ meeting was to collate the peoples’ inputs for the 2017 fiscal budget, and promised to submit the outcome of the stakeholders meeting to the government.

Bisi Yusuf, who represents Alimosho One Constituency, appealed to his constituents to take the issue of security seriously, saying individuals must be ready to cooperate with security agencies to engender effective policing.

“For security to be adequately enhanced, people must be ready to cooperate. It is the responsibility of you and me to take charge when it comes to the issue of security,” the lawmaker stated.

On the need for government to provide more schools in Alimosho, the lawmaker said if community leaders were willing to provide land, he would facilitate the construction of schools.

Yusuf, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, (local), expressed the belief that if Nigerians play their parts as far as security is concerned, a safer environment would be guaranteed.

At Badagry, Setonji David, who represents the area informed his constituents that the purpose of the meeting was to brief them on activities of the assembly, “and to obtain information on the peculiar security problems in our constituency, with suggestions on how to combat same.”

A woman leader in the constituency, Alhaja Mojisola Adesola, requested that more women should be enlisted in the Neighbourhood Safety Corps. At the Lagos Mainland Constituency One, residents told Moshood Oshun, their representative to liaise with his colleagues and champion the issue of state police.

A chieftain of the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), Olawale Oshun, noted that in many countries of the world, there were various stages of policing, adding that even though the House does not have the power to amend the constitution, it could liaise with other legislatures across the country to effect the change.

While they commended Oshun for fulfilling some of his electoral promises, they, however, listed unfulfilled ones and tasked him to work towards realising them.

Oshun, who lamented the increase in cases of rape and incest in the society, noted that crime rate is on the rise because people no longer care about their neighbours, even as he shared the view that the country was ripe for state police.

He urged his constituents to be unrelenting in channeling their demands, and suggestions to his constituency offices, promising that such demands would be acted on expeditiously.

At Oshodi/Isolo Constituency One, where residents called for their inclusion in the execution of security policies, the Baale of Shogunle, Alhaji Rafiu Ajisegiri, who wondered why community leaders are often left out of security policies implementation, called for a change.

The Chairman of PDP Elders Council in the area, Chief S.O Showunmi, enjoined the state government and residents to take community policing seriously, and advised the government to enlighten the people on community policing.

A woman leader, Princess Morenike Ikeji, canvassed for a strategic security plan that would include women, as women are not usually carried along on security matters.

Responding, lawmaker representing the area, Olusola Sokunle, explained that the Lagos Neighborhood Safety Corps Law 2016, and the Lagos State Property Protection Law 2016, were responses by the assembly aimed at addressing security challenges in the state.

The lawmaker, however, urged his constituents to submit their other requests to his constituency office in Oshodi for collation for further deliberation by the Assembly.

In this article:
Alhaja R.A Bello
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