Lagos To Scale Up Entrepreneurship In Partnership With Professionals 

Lagos To Scale Up Entrepreneurship In Partnership With Professionals 

President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Alhaji Razak Jaiyeola and his counterpart in the Institute of Directors (IoD) of Nigeria, Alhaji Rufai Mohammed on Tuesday lauded Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode for his sterling performance since assumption of office in 2015, saying his achievements across all sectors and sections speak volume and were visible to all.

Jaiyeola and Mohammed, who spoke separately when they led members of the Governing Council of their respective Institutes on a courtesy visit to the Governor at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, said it was gratifying that the current administration had exemplified good governance in all facets of the State.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; with members of Governing Council, Institute of Directors (IoD), Mr. Oba Ladega; Mr. Akin Iroko and Natinaol President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture (NACCIMA), Iyalode Alaba Lawason during a courtesy visit to the Governor by the Governing Council of IoD, at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; with members of Governing Council, Institute of Directors (IoD), Mr. Oba Ladega; Mr. Akin Iroko and Natinaol President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture (NACCIMA), Iyalode Alaba Lawason during a courtesy visit to the Governor by the Governing Council of IoD, at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.  

The ICAN boss specifically congratulated Governor Ambode for picking the nomination form to re-contest the Governorship election in 2019, saying the institute was proud of his outstanding performance in office, and would support him again to continue the good works in the State.

 

“We appreciate the good works of the Governor; you are doing excellently well. You are not only a touch bearer of our institute, but also a beaming light of our profession. We appreciate your good works and I note that they have been very very outstanding and so on behalf of the Governing Council, I want to appreciate the Governor.

 

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd right), with President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Mr. Razak Jaiyeola (2nd left); his Vice, Mrs. Comfort Eyitayo (right); Past President of ICAN, Princess Adenike Adeniran (left) during a courtesy visit to the Governor by the members of ICAN Governing Council at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. With them: Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade (right behind); his counterpart for Energy & Mineral resources, Mr. Olawale Oluwo (2nd right behind); Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Balogun (middle behind) and member of the ICAN Governing Council, Dr. DejiAwobotu (left behind).
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd right), with President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Mr. Razak Jaiyeola (2nd left); his Vice, Mrs. Comfort Eyitayo (right); Past President of ICAN, Princess Adenike Adeniran (left) during a courtesy visit to the Governor by the members of ICAN Governing Council at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. With them: Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade (right behind); his counterpart for Energy & Mineral resources, Mr. Olawale Oluwo (2nd right behind); Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Balogun (middle behind) and member of the ICAN Governing Council, Dr. DejiAwobotu (left behind).

“I want also to congratulate you on picking the nomination form to contest for the Governor of Lagos State. I want to assure you that as we have always done because you are a performer and it is glaring to even a blind person of feeling the impact of your administration. we would support you as we have always done,” Jaiyeola said.    

 

On his part, Mohammed said it was instructive that new projects were always springing up in various parts of the State, saying the Governor had aptly exemplified that good governance was possible.

 

“Your Excellency, the Institute of Directors of Nigeria commends your administration for the great achievements you have made so far in the State in many facets and most especially in the areas of good governance and the development of human capital and infrastructure. Under your able leadership, Lagos State has been able to distinguish itself in this country in the areas of security of lives and property of the citizens, improved ease of doing business, attraction of direct investment, self-sustenance and good ethical conduct in the implementation of government works and services.

 

“We would like to especially observe that the sterling achievements of your administration have been made possible by your strict adherence to the principles of good corporate governance in the affairs of the State. The IoD Nigeria Governing Council therefore salutes you and your able team for the courage and commitment in building an enduring culture of good corporate governance and ethics in your administration and in the management of the affairs of Lagos State,” Mohammed said.

 

Responding, Governor Ambode said since assuming office, accuracy and integrity were the watchwords for his administration which, according to him, had facilitated the transformation in all parts of the State.

 

Addressing the requests by the institutes for collaboration with the State Government in key areas, the Governor said an international convention centre and a professional layout zone were already in the works, with the view to hosting international conferences and ensure seamless operation of professional bodies. 

 

“More importantly, we want to once and for all have a professional layout in Lagos State and then have all other professions having their complex side by side in the State so that we can go on a particular layout and have maybe lawyers, engineers, COREN, ICAN and so on.

 

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right), presenting a souvenir to President of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Mr. Razak Jaiyeola during a courtesy visit to the Governor by the members of ICAN Governing Council at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right), presenting a souvenir to President of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Mr. Razak Jaiyeola during a courtesy visit to the Governor by the members of ICAN Governing Council at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.

“Like you would have seen across the State, there is a huge level of infrastructure that is coming up and we believe strongly that part of what we should really do is to promote tourism and economic activities and in that regard, there is a planned convention centre that is in the making that we are putting up with others and in another few period, the layout will come out and it will also encourage economic activities and tourism, among others,” he said.

 

On entrepreneurship development raised by IOD Nigeria, Governor Ambode said though a lot had been done in scaling up small scale businesses especially with N25billion Employment Fund, among others, he was nonetheless opened for further partnership to secure the future of youths in the State.

 

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), in a group photograph with the President, Institute of Directors (IoD), Alhaji Ahmed Rufai Mohammed and members of the Governing Council during a courtesy visit to the Governor, at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), in a group photograph with the President, Institute of Directors (IoD), Alhaji Ahmed Rufai Mohammed and members of the Governing Council during a courtesy visit to the Governor, at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.

“65 per cent of Nigeria’s population is below 35 and technically in Lagos and so we have a youthful population in Lagos. So, somebody somewhere must be able to sit down and ask questions about what would happen to the young ones in the next five to ten years and we know that we have to plan for them and that is why I welcome the collaboration,” Governor Ambode said.      

Chief Akintola Williams Is A True Nigerian We Should All Be Proud Of

Chief Akintola Williams Is A True Nigerian We Should All Be Proud Of

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and his Ogun State counterpart, Senator Ibikunle Amosun on Thursday led other eminent Nigerians to celebrate the first African to qualify as a chartered accountant, Chief Akintola Williams who clocked 99, describing him as a true Nigerian who worked assiduously to lift up the country.

Speaking to reporters at a special birthday reception held in honour of Williams at his Lagos residence, Governor Ambode described the celebrant as the doyen of accountancy profession and elder statesman who deserved to be celebrated for his contribution to the growth and development of the country.

According to the Governor, “The main reason why we are here is to celebrate a true Nigerian and for somebody who has actually contributed to the development of Nigeria and he is still alive at 99, is worth celebrating and this is like a prelude to the centenary that we are waiting to celebrate next year, and that is why you can see that Ogun State Governor is here too.

“Apart from the fact that Chief Akintola Williams is the Doyen of the Accountancy Profession, we see him as a founding father of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN); he is also the founding father of the Musical Society of Nigeria. So, he has too many parts and this is one Nigerian that we are proud of and we are willing to celebrate him every day,” Governor Ambode said.

He particularly commended Williams for his role in the development of Lagos, saying the State Government would continue to celebrate true Nigerians like him.

“That I am here today is more or less to say a big thank you to him for lifting up Lagos; for lifting up Nigeria and we also wish him well on behalf of all Lagosians. We will continue to celebrate true Nigerians and he (Chief Williams) is just one true Nigerian, an elder statesman that we should all be proud of,” Governor Ambode said.

Responding, Williams appreciated all those who found time to be with him on his special day, and wished them long life as well.

Aside Governors Ambode and Amosun, other eminent Nigerians at the event include former Military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd); first Military Governor of Lagos State, Brigadier-General Mobolaji Johnson (rtd); Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; foremost banker and founder of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Otunba Subomi Balogun; legal luminary and philanthropist, Chief Chris Ogunbanjo; former ICAN Presidents, among other captains of industries and members of the diplomatic corps.

Apapa Congestion: Governor Ambode Flags Off Expansion Of Abat Truck Terminal In Orile

Apapa Congestion: Governor Ambode Flags Off Expansion Of Abat Truck Terminal In Orile

…To Explore Another 5,000-Capacity Terminal In Ijanikin

…Extends Egan-Agric Road Project To Ayobo, Orders Palliative Work On Ikotun-Ijegun, Others

…Inspects Ongoing Projects Across The State

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday flagged off the expansion of the ABAT Truck Terminal in Orile Iganmu, assuring that work would be accelerated on the 1000-capacity terminal to take trucks parked indiscriminately on the roads and bridges.

Governor Ambode, who led an extensive inspection of ongoing projects across the State that last for about six hours, said the expansion of the Terminal was one of the resolutions reached at the recent meeting with stakeholders, especially in the Maritime sector on finding lasting solutions to take containerized trucks permanently off the roads, a development that is majorly responsible for the gridlock in the Apapa area.

The Governor said: “One of the resolutions is that we should have authorised truck Terminal Park and so my visit to this place today is to flag off the reconstruction of this terminal so that we can accommodate 1000 trucks.

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“We would do this in collaboration with the Nigeria Ports Authority so that the call-up system can work efficiently. The expansion we are adding to this particular terminal in which we have decided to acquire the adjoining land, we would use that primarily for non-petroleum trucks so that we can sectionalized these trucks and allow the call-up system to work.

“This is just part of the efforts that the State Government is making to make sure this Apapa gridlock and the truck menace becomes a thing of the past permanently.”

Governor Ambode also disclosed that the State Government has concluded plans to utilise an expanse of land in Ijanikin area with a capacity to accommodate at least 5,000 trucks.

“I have just been briefed that we have an additional land space in Ijanikin that can accommodate 5000 trucks. We will explore that possibility immediately; all that we are doing is just to make sure that there is a permanent solution to this whole idea of trucks destroying our bridges and roads,” he said.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd right); Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Ladi Lawanson (right); Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Taiwo Salaam (middle); Commissioner for Works & Infrastructure, Engr. Adebowale Akinsanya (2nd left) and Special Adviser to the Governor, Finance & Audit Control, Mr. Adeniyi Popoola (left) during the Governor’s inspection of the Egan Housing Estate, Igando, on Sunday, August 5, 2018.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd right); Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Ladi Lawanson (right); Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Taiwo Salaam (middle); Commissioner for Works & Infrastructure, Engr. Adebowale Akinsanya (2nd left) and Special Adviser to the Governor, Finance & Audit Control, Mr. Adeniyi Popoola (left) during the Governor’s inspection of the Egan Housing Estate, Igando, on Sunday, August 5, 2018.

While appealing to Lagosians for their understanding, the Governor said that within the next six to eight weeks, the Terminals would be up and running to get the trucks off the roads and bridges within the axis.

Governor Ambode said aside the expansion of the Terminal, the commitment by the Federal Government to commence the reconstruction of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway was on course with the approval of N72.9billion by the Federal Executive Council for the project.

“You would recall that about two weeks ago, we had a stakeholders’ meeting with the Vice President presiding in Apapa and at that meeting, we resolved that we would ensure that the reconstruction of the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway would be awarded within two weeks which has been fulfilled by the Federal Government; they have awarded the contract and construction should commence within the next two weeks.

“We thank the President, Vice President, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, and that of Transport for reconstruction of Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and the rail track from Apapa Ports to Ibadan which is strictly a cargo rail that would assist in moving heavy-duty goods away from the Apapa axis,” he said.

Besides, Governor Ambode said his administration was also looking at utilizing barges on the waterways to move heavy cargo as a way of complementing efforts on road and rail transportation system.

“I just think Lagosians will have the relief to see that we have actually done what is right and in their overall interest.

“I want to thank all the stakeholders for their interest and we must continue to join hands like I said and we would get the results that we so desire,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of stakeholders, Chairman of Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi said the flag off of the expansion of ABAT Truck Terminal by the Governor was a new dawn towards addressing the Apapa gridlock.

According to him, “Today, I must say is a beginning of a good thing that will start happening in our sector as haulage operators in the State. Today is the beginning of a new era as far as Lagos State is concerned.

“We have been saying it that our Governor is an action Governor and his coming here today has shown that he is very dynamic and pragmatic. This is what we have been expecting and for the Governor to be here to see things for himself and flag off the rehabilitation and expansion of this terminal shows that he is not only talking but matching words with action,” Ogungbemi said.

He expressed optimism that the steps taken by the State Government would go a long way to end the menace of trucks parking on roads and bridges in the State.

Earlier, the Governor had inspected the progress of work on the modern bus terminals in Yaba and Oyingbo, as well as the failed section of Sari Iganmu Road which had been abandoned for over two years, assuring scores of residents, who trooped out to welcome him, that contractors would move in to fix it within the next two weeks, while their blocked canal would also be cleared.

The Governor and his team also inspected the ongoing palliative work embarked upon to fix the bad sections of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.

While inspecting the progress of work on the Egan-Agric Road Project which is an access road to the ongoing Egan-Igando Housing Scheme, Governor Ambode said the project would be extended to Ayobo to serve as alternative route to decongest the Lasu-Iba Road to ease movement and further make life comfortable to the people.

He said the housing scheme, which had been on for about eight years, had largely been stalled due to the bad road in the axis, saying that the work would be accelerated, while interested residents would be allowed to benefit from the rent-to-own housing policy whereby the ownership of the scheme would be on monthly basis.

Besides, the Governor ordered immediate traffic signalization and palliative work on Ikotun-Ijegun Road, Abaranje, Isheri-Oshun, among other adjoining roads in the axis.

Addressing residents, Governor Ambode said: “We have received several complaints from this community about the deplorable state of the road from Ikotun to Ijegun, Abaranje and the other axis leading to Igando. I have come to see this place myself and beyond repairing the roads, we also need to do a lot of traffic management solutions here and so we are going to signalize Ikotun Junction and this particular junction immediately.

“Public Works Corporation should proceed to do palliative from the Ikotun Junction down to Ijegun, Abaranje and then we link it up to Igando. I know there are some complaints about Isheri-Oshun also. The part that we have finished there, we will look at that part and then from Isheri-Oshun down to link up this Ikotun-Ijegun Road and immediately carry out palliative now that the rain is subsiding,” the Governor said.

Community Policing, Strong Intelligence Way To Solve Nigeria’s Security Challenges

Community Policing, Strong Intelligence Way To Solve Nigeria’s Security Challenges

…Says Nigeria Stands To Benefit From Lagos Model Of Fighting Crime

…Delivers Lecture At Institute For Security Studies In Abuja

 

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday said the fight against crime and all forms of criminality in Nigeria can only be better enhanced if concerted efforts are geared toward embracing community policing to complement the police and other law enforcement agencies.

 

The Governor also said in view of the critical national security issues confronting the country at the point in time, paramount importance must now be attached to strong intelligence gathering even over and above the provision of physical security apparatuses, to rescue Nigeria from the myriad of security challenges.

 

Governor Ambode, who said this while addressing participants of the Executive Intelligence Management Course II of the Institute for Security Studies, Abuja, noted that the security issues the country was grappling with such as international terrorism and insecure borders, local terrorism including lone wolf terrorists, proliferation of small arms into big cities, cyber warfare, drug trafficking, human trafficking and the regular misdemeanors among and other petty crimes, all pointed to the need for strong intelligence gathering framework to be put in place to nip potential crime in the bud.

 

According to him, if policy makers such as the participants at the course who were drawn from 21 security and government agencies could not understand such security issues from the point of first-rate intelligence, then it would difficult for effective policies to be made and implemented to combat them.

 

“In the pursuit of the primus inter pares of all governance challenges, we have identified that the gathering and utilisation of intelligence is of paramount importance, even ahead of the provision of physical security apparatuses.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (left), being presented with a plaque by the Director of Institute for Security Studies, Mr. Matthew Seiyfa during the 2018 Executive Management Course of the Institute for Security Studies in Abuja, on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (left), being presented with a plaque by the Director of Institute for Security Studies, Mr. Matthew Seiyfa during the 2018 Executive Management Course of the Institute for Security Studies in Abuja, on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.

 

“As is well known, I am a huge proponent of community policing. Indeed, I strongly believe that the fight against crime and all forms of criminality would be better enhanced if efforts are geared towards embracing community policing to complement the police and other law enforcement agencies,” the Governor said, adding that it was for such reason that his administration established the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corp Agency (LNSC) to enhance intelligence gathering in the communities.

 

The Governor, who specifically spoke on the theme: “Cultural Values, National Security and Challenges of Contemporary Governance: Perspective from Lagos State Experience,” said being the melting pot of diverse cultures, as well as major economic hub as the fifth largest economy in Africa with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $131billion, Lagos had been able to appropriate its cultural values, especially the multi-ethnic and cosmopolitan nature, to confront its security and governance challenges, adding that the country stand to gain from the model which the State had adopted in fighting crime and administering governance.

 

Recalling security challenges faced by his administration at the initial stage especially kidnapping, the Governor said in fighting the menace, the government garnered the support of the security agencies to set up military bases and security operations that resulted in the rescue of kidnap victims  and arrest of kidnap kingpins, while further steps were taken on intelligence gathering, community partnership and huge investment in security, such that today, the State was now one of the safest cities in Africa.

 Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), with Director of Institute for Security Studies, Mr. Matthew Seiyfa (right) and Deputy Director of Studies, Institute for Security Studies, Dr. Abdulwahab Wali (left) during the 2018 Executive Management Course of the Institute for Security Studies in Abuja, on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), with Director of Institute for Security Studies, Mr. Matthew Seiyfa (right) and Deputy Director of Studies, Institute for Security Studies, Dr. Abdulwahab Wali (left) during the 2018 Executive Management Course of the Institute for Security Studies in Abuja, on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.

Besides, the Governor listed core cultural values which are essential to ensure security and development to include truth, justice, hard work and character, which according to him, have been effectively deployed in Lagos State in the creation of agencies such as LNSC, the Security Trust Fund under the Public-private partnership model to enhance transparency, among others.

 

“In Lagos State, we are resolved to continue to review and revise our policies with the aim of maintaining, at every point in time, a sustainable security framework that will stand the test of time and enable every stakeholder in Lagos to participate. So far, we have been encouraged by the massive contributions of many corporate organizations to the Security Trust Fund and by the participation of our communities in the work of the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps,” he said.

 

He said though a lot had been achieved, but that the State Government was nonetheless not oblivious of the fact that more needed to be done, assuring that his administration would continue to prioritise the security of the people.

 

Going forward with regards to preserving the culture of the people with focus on security, the Governor said from the home front, parents should now attach importance to their culture, saying the State Government had already led the way in placing paramount importance on the continuous learning of indigenous languages.

According to him, “Many parents are not training their kids to know and understand the realities of life and cultural values. Parents should go back to the teaching and promotion of our core cultural values. The abandonment of these cultural values has led many children to take to drugs and bad vices with the attendant challenges to national security.

 

“Beyond the efforts to sustain and, as the case may be, to resuscitate cultural values as a veritable means for ensuring cohesiveness in the society and promoting security, I also advocate a collective vigilance mentality whereby all stakeholders in security management have properly defined roles and relationships to stay ahead of all forms of violent crimes such as terrorism, cyber and transnational organised crimes while utilizing processed intelligence made possible as a result of our cultural values,” Governor Ambode said.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (seated middle), with participants of the 2018 Executive Management Course of the Institute for Security Studies in Abuja, on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (seated middle), with participants of the 2018 Executive Management Course of the Institute for Security Studies in Abuja, on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.

In his opening remarks, Director of the Institute, Matthew Seiyfa commended Governor Ambode for the various projects and initiatives implemented to make life better for the people, saying the projects have also contributed immensely to enhance security.

 

He also commended the initiative of the Security Trust Fund, saying the fact that many States have now copied it from Lagos attests to its vitality and effectiveness in security management.

 

“Since 2015 when Governor Ambode took hold on the reigns of office as the Executive Governor, he has not only continued but revitalized this visionary path. He (The Governor) has sought to consolidate and deepen the status of Lagos as a mega city and a hub for regional transportation, tourism, entertainment, finance, industry, among others.

 

“The Governor’s projects have not only been world class in standard and quality but also inclusive,” Seiyfa said.

 

 

“Cultural Values, National Security And Challenges Of Contemporary Governance: Perspectives From Lagos State Experience” – A Lecture Delivered By His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, At The The Institute For Security Studies

“Cultural Values, National Security And Challenges Of Contemporary Governance: Perspectives From Lagos State Experience” – A Lecture Delivered By His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, At The The Institute For Security Studies

Let me begin by commending the State Security Service (“SSS”) for its notable and distinguished history of promoting, ensuring and maintaining the security of Nigeria through the gathering of domestic intelligence and the offering of invaluable security advisory support for governments at both the Federal and State levels.

Indeed, since its establishment in June, 1986 as one of the successor entities to the National Security Organisation, the SSS has evolved into a sophisticated domestic intelligence institution that has served the country creditably well.

In addition to the many innovations and commendable initiatives by the SSS over the years, perhaps the one to be lauded the most is the establishment and maintenance of the Institute for Security Studies, Abuja. As an institute devoted to the promotion of intra-agency understanding and the coordination and promotion of studies in the gathering, maintenance, and effective utilization of intelligence, this institute and the many participants in the courses offered by the institute have, without doubt, contributed in no small measure to the evolving security architecture of Nigeria which, as all stakeholders agree, will be better served by an even more robust reliance on intelligence gathering and utilisation.

It is therefore my pleasure to contribute to the work of this institute through the presentation of this lecture. I have been invited to share perspectives from the Lagos State experience on the interplay among cultural values, national security and the challenges of contemporary governance. This, indeed, is a topical issue that is most relevant for our times. I am certain that the participants of this course and, indeed, the entire nation will benefit from the Lagos State experience on the issues embedded in the topic for discussion.

I propose to begin by situating Lagos State as a microcosm of the entire nation. Thereafter, I will seek to:

  1. Establish the primacy of national security on the scale of the challenges in contemporary governance;
  2. Highlight the importance of intelligence gathering, processing and utilisation in contemporary times;
  3. Emphasise why cultural values are important for the maintenance of national security; and finally
  4. Share cogent examples of steps taken and policies implemented in Lagos State to confront the contemporary challenges of security and governance..

Lagos State: Microcosmic Window into Nigeria and Strategic Regional Importance

Historians generally agree that Lagos headed the population explosion in Nigeria in general and in urban areas in particular that became noticeable after 1950.  According to the 1952 census, the population of Lagos numbered 346, 137 and the 1963 census records the population of Lagos as 1,135,805. This phenomenal population explosion has been attributed to the significant economic, commercial and political changes which made Lagos the fastest growing city in Nigeria. As a result, Lagos State is the melting point for all cultures and ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. Indeed, Lagos State has always been home to all Nigerians irrespective of language, tribe and culture.

Since the birth of the fourth republic, successive administrations in Lagos State have gone to extensive lengths to preserve and promote the multi-ethnic status and nature of Lagos State and the peace and security in Lagos State over the years is a loud testament to the efforts of the Lagos State Government to tap into the positive aspects of the multi-cultural and cosmopolitan nature of Lagos State.

Also, Lagos State has, without doubt, always been and remains Nigeria’s economic focal point, generating a significant portion of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Most commercial and financial business activities are carried out in the central business district situated on the island where most of the country’s commercial banks and financial institutions and major corporations are headquartered. Lagos also has one of the highest standards of living as compared to other cities in Nigeria as well as in Africa.

Thus, when you are in Lagos, Nigeria, you are in a city fully open for business and fully reflective of the Nigerian nation. The population is nearing 25 million, of which approximately four million are in the middle class. Again, and very notably, Lagos is the fifth largest economy in Africa and the GDP has hit around $131bn. Lagos State has a GDP bigger in size than many African countries, and is the only state in Nigeria that generates up to 70 per cent of its own income.[1] Furthermore, as has been rightly observed, Lagos State’s “potential to generate revenue has now been boosted even further by confirmation of oil production. Targeted investment is expected to follow the state’s oil production activities and, under the terms of Nigeria’s resource control, as an oil-producing state, Lagos will become entitled to a 13% portion of revenues generated by Nigeria’s government through its oil thus potentially earning millions of dollars.”[2]

As a megacity, the status of Lagos is not in doubt. As a global city, Lagos lays a very decent claim as well. It is the hub for a large portion of all e-commerce transactions in Africa; it is the hub for the conclusion of the largest portion of all crude oil sales from Africa; it houses law firms, accounting and consultancies that are listed in the most prestigious directories. The population is extremely cosmopolitan and there has been exceptionally notable stability, continuity and discipline in governance for about two decades.

I have highlighted the details above as a basis for the argument that Nigeria as a whole can benefit from a close examination of how Lagos State has mined and appropriated the cultural values inherent in a multi ethnic and cosmopolitan Lagos to confront the challenges of security and governance in a state that reflects the cultural diversity and economic leanings of Nigeria.

Scale of Governance Challenges and the Primacy of Security

The task before public sector entities in contemporary times is very daunting indeed. In particular, the challenges confronting the governments of multicultural, cosmopolitan, and mega cities such as Lagos with an ever-expanding population are herculean. Among many others, the government has to provide for the security, transportation, education, and housing of a teeming and diversified population. In order to do this, the government has to craft policies and strategies that take into consideration the demographic composition of residents of Lagos State; these policies and strategies have to be constantly tested, monitored, reviewed and, when found adequate, have to be fully implemented. Add to all these, the all-important task of raising the revenue required to execute and fund these strategies and policies.

It is difficult to rank these challenges which, amongst others, are inter-related. What is clear, however, is that the resolution of these challenges, whether it be revenue raise, improvement in education, or infrastructural development, devolve on, and revolve around, security. The existence of security within a geopolitical location will ensure that policies are crafted in an atmosphere that allows for objective decision making and logically-reasoned policies.

Furthermore, an adequate, efficient, and effective security architecture will ensure the implementation of all other policies and the preservation of investments made. After all, that is what really grows our GDP and that is what makes other people to want to come to Lagos State to live and work and invest.

It is for the foregoing reasons that successive administrations in Lagos State since 1999 have prioritised the pursuit and enthronement of a world-class security architecture befitting a multicultural and mega city such as Lagos State. Indeed, the security of lives and property of citizens remains the topmost pursuit of my administration. Indeed, one of the biggest achievement of my administration in the last three years is the security of the lives and the property of Lagos State residents. And, of course, it is gratifying to note that Lagos State is now one of the safest cities in Africa.

At the beginning of my administration, one of the early challenges was the issue of kidnapping that was so notorious in certain areas of the state. Right from the beginning, we had the support of the security agencies to set up military bases and launch security operations that resulted in the rescue of kidnap victims and, in other cases, the arrest of kidnap kingpins. Indeed, the last three years have been very peaceful, and everybody would agree that crime rate has reduced in Lagos State.

The Primacy of Security and the Unrivalled Importance of Intelligence

In the pursuit of the primus inter pares of all governance challenges, we have identified that the gathering and utilisation of intelligence is of paramount importance, even ahead of the provision of physical security apparatuses. Why is this the case? It is the coming together of two important developments. The first is that the number of critical national security issues facing Nigeria and Lagos State, her microcosm, has never been greater than it is today. Of course, there have always been times of intensive assault on our collective security, but contemporary challenges are many, large, multi-dimensional, extensive and pervasive. There are challenges relating to international terrorism and insecure borders, local terrorisms and the issue of the so-called ‘lone wolf’ terrorists, the proliferation of small arms into big cities, cyber warfare, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and, of course, the regular misdemeanors and other petty crimes.

The second reason for the importance of intelligence is that, for the vast majority of these issues, if policymakers cannot understand them, they cannot make effective policies with regard to them, and they cannot implement relevant policies without first-rate intelligence.

Everyone in Nigeria can recall the kidnap of students from Lagos State Model College, Igbonla area of Lagos State. These six students were abducted from their school and when the kidnappers established contact with the parents, it was said that a ransom of N400m was demanded but this was later reduced to N100m owing to the inability of the parents to meet up with the demand. Among others, it took the identification and interrogation of the relatives of key members of the gang in an operation coordinated by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations at the Lagos State Police Command and the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team to pressurize the gang to release the students. It also took similar utilisation of intelligence to capture a gang that had engaged in kidnapping in Lagos State but was hiding in the creeks of the riverine areas of Ondo State.

The import of my submissions here is that many of the high-profile crimes recently reported in Lagos State could not have been resolved without reliance on, and effective processing of, intelligence. You may also have read that the Lagos Police Command would soon establish Divisional Intelligence Offices at police stations across the state to handle information provided by members of the public. The Commissioner of Police was reported to have said that “Every police officer will now have a pocket notebook to jot down information given to him/her by members of the public while on duty” and that the “information by policemen will be forwarded to the Divisional Information Officer at the end of the day for thorough processing.”[3] These intelligence units would, of course be in aid of community policing in the state. As is well known, I am a huge proponent of community policing.

Indeed, I strongly believe that the fight against crime and all forms of criminality would be better enhanced if efforts are geared towards embracing community policing to complement the police and other law enforcement agencies. This is what informed the setting up of the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corp Agency of which I shall later speak. However, what we have found in our experience in Lagos State is that intelligence gathering through community policing will be ineffective in the absence of certain germane cultural values in the society.

 

Reclaiming Cultural Values in Multi-Cultural and Cosmopolitan Lagos State

Cultural values are fundamental in all human societies and the argument has been made that cultural values dissipate and become eroded in the face of multiculturalism. The same argument applies on a larger scale in the context of globalization. However, what we find in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic and ethnic microcosm, is that, notwithstanding multiculturalism, there is a nucleus of cultural values that continues to endure.

The reason for this, I dare venture, is that migrants to Lagos State carry their core cultural values with them. Is this a good thing? My answer is yes, it is. In other scenarios, the answer might not be a definitive yes but, given that cultures of Nigeria themselves are united by a strong thread of similar values, multiculturalism has been beneficial to the cohesiveness of Lagos State. This is not to say that these values are not under siege. Indeed, they are. And all hands must be on deck to resuscitate them where resuscitation is required.

Two Nigerian academics[4] published an article on the resilience of Nigerian moral and cultural values in the face of globalization. They then identified four of such values that, in my opinion, are sine qua non to the maintenance and appropriation of the values of intelligence gathering and utilisation through community policing. I will share these four cultural values with you.

The first of these is Truth (also called ‘Ooto’ in Yoruba). For all the Nigerian cultures co-existing in Lagos State, Truth is the major strand that wields society together. Without truth, there would be no need for human society. The trust built in society lies mainly in the ability of the individual members to tell one another the truth. Thus, it is obvious that the pillar stone of every community is the telling of the truth. All Nigerian cultures believe that truth is life. Embodiment of truth in our actions both in private and public affairs stand the chance of dealing with security threats such as embezzlements of public funds, sale of fake drugs, human trafficking, kidnapping and the lapses in our judicial systems among others.

The second important cultural value identified by these academics is Justice. Justice is an important notion in all the cultures co-existing in Lagos State. Most of these cultures have the concept and insignia of ‘justice’ embedded in the emblems of their deities and this “reminds the community of the power of justice which in its nature is believed to involve transparent honesty, innocence and fair play.” The rain, like justice may seem weak, but it is capable of leaving its mark on the ground. Thus, in the traditional conception of Justice, there is enough room for all to ‘perch’ and achieve fully the supreme value. Greed, jealousy, destruction of other people’s chances for making success of life and the lack of the spirit to give and take by which the community could live harmoniously, and grow are greatly deprecated by our different cultures. The traditional idea of justice frowns at marginalization and the increasing level of poverty as a result of the unjust distribution of abundant natural resources in the society.

 

Hard-work is the third cultural value identified by these academics. Our cultures lay great emphasis on the importance of hard work and the consequences of laziness, and not showing seriousness towards one’s work or means of livelihood. There are proverbs in all Nigerian cultures used to remind both young and old that there is dignity in labour. Any lazy person, dependent on others for survival, is looked down upon and considered a failure. Inculcation of these proverbs among the youths is capable of discouraging examination malpractices and the urge to acquire ‘certificate quick syndrome’. These proverbs also teach that wealth is obtained by strength and not by cheating, kidnapping for ransom of money, and other corrupt practices.

The fourth and final cultural value identified is Character (‘iwa’). According to these academics, the Yoruba conceive of ‘iwa’ (character) as providing the means by which man regulates his life to avoid conflict with the supernatural forces and also to be able to live in harmony with his fellow men. Thus, in a system dominated by many supernatural forces and a social structure predominantly authoritarian and hierarchical, the Yoruba believe that each individual must strive to cultivate a good ‘iwa’ to be able to live a good life in perfect harmony with the forces that govern the universe and the members of his society. This, then, accounts for the high premium placed on good character. It is always considered to be very important that one does the right things so that one should ensure that one’s good destiny becomes a reality. Thus, the character of the person would determine, to some extent, his situation in life. If he is a man of weak character, he could easily become a prey to a philosophy of resignation and idleness.

I fully agree with the four cultural values distilled by these academics as highlighted above. The next logical question however is: how has Lagos State appropriated these cultural values to meet the contemporary governance challenge of security?

Appropriating Cultural Values for Security: The Lagos State Experience

I will now proceed to share with you how we have built two major security programmes and initiatives on the cultural values identified above. These are the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corp and the Lagos State Security Trust Fund.

The Lagos Neighborhood Safety Corps (LNSC) is a uniformed security agency established by a law of the Lagos State House of Assembly in 2016 to assist the Police and other security agencies to maintain law and order in the state. They operate in all the 20 Local Government Areas (“LGAs”) and the 37 Local Council Development Areas (“LCDAs) of the state.

The Lagos Neighborhood Safety Corps (“LNSC”) officers are indigenous locals from the various LGAs/LCDAs where they operate, which is a deliberate policy in order to make use of their local knowledge to achieve maximum grass root intelligence gathering and community policing.

The statutory functions of the LNSC include:

  • Gathering information about crimes, crime in progress, suspicious activities and crime suspects among other things.
  • Making available such relevant information on crimes, crime in progress, suspicious activities and crime suspects to the police or other security agencies that require it.
  • Putting structure in place to ensure that hoodlums and cult groups do not have the opportunity to operate.
  • Undertaking routine motorized patrol day and night.
  • Reducing the crime rate and ensuring that offenders are identified and made to account for their misdeeds.
  • Following up on arrest of offenders to the court and ensuring justice.
  • Timely reporting of suspicious activities and crimes in progress to the police or other security agencies and improving relationship between the police and the community as it concerns law enforcement.
  • Contributing to maintaining community peace.

It is observable from the structure described above that the attainment of the objectives of the LNSC are heavily dependent on the appropriation of all of the cultural values earlier highlighted. Without members of the Lagos State society and the officers of the LNSC prioritizing and exhibiting the values of truth, justice, hard work and character, we can never hope to realise the benefits of the vision behind the establishment of the LNSC.

The other Lagos State initiative that I want to share with you is the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (“LSSTF”). The LSSTF was established by a Law of the Lagos State House of Assembly in September 2007 as a direct response to the security challenges in the State. The establishment of the LSSTF became imperative after the State Government received and reviewed the report of a high-powered Security Committee which it established under the chairmanship of the former Inspector General of Police to look into the ways and means of combating the growing menace of violent crimes in the state and the seeming inability of the police and other security agencies to confront this challenge in spite of their best endeavours.

The report made it crystal clear that the problem was essentially related to logistics, mobility, communications, kitting and so on especially when considering the peculiar security challenges in the state. It was the finding of the Security committee that a minimum of N3.7B was required to provide standard security cover for Lagos State including the waterways. This deficit was due to the several years of underfunding of the police especially during the military regime by the Federal Government. It must be pointed out that security is the exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government, but Lagos State has gone ahead to support these agencies to ensure security of its citizens.

The question then is, why a Trust Fund? The idea of creating a Trust Fund was to source for funds from government, private organizations and individuals in order to meet the operational capacity needs of security agencies particularly in the areas of logistics and provision of crime fighting equipment in the effective discharge of their duties. This is because security agencies have suffered long years of neglect by the Federal Government whose primary responsibility it is to fund them.

It is important to note that the Fund does not receive any subvention from government; rather government makes donations in kind to the Fund. The Fund also ensures that all donations are properly accounted for and that its operations are transparent. In addition, the account of the Trust Fund is audited by International Auditing Firms (currently Ernst & Young) and published annually for public information at the yearly Town Hall Meetings on Security with the Governor where the LSSTF renders its account of stewardship.

The State Government adopted a Public Private Partnership (PPP) business model for the governance and financial operations of the Trust Fund due to the energy and expertise that exists in the private sector and for timely security interventions devoid of bureaucratic bottlenecks. The objectives of the Fund, as contained by the Law establishing it, are to raise money through voluntary donations from government Ministries/Departments/Agencies, private organizations and individuals. In other words, the Fund is strictly donor-funded, and monies raised are used for the acquisition and deployment of security equipment and such human, material, and financial resources as shall be found necessary for the effective functioning of all security agencies operating in Lagos State.

The LSSTF law provides that some of the funds shall be reserved for the training and retraining of security personnel. One of the primary responsibilities of the Fund is the provision of operational and logistic support for the Rapid Response Squad (RRS). The Board of Trustees of the Fund, though appointed by the Governor, are mainly (80%) from the private sector and operate independently of government. They are notable members of the business community in the state that use their goodwill to attract donations to the Fund. As such the Board accepts their appointment as an opportunity to give back to the state.

You will all agree with me that, while not immediately apparent, the real foundational structure of the LSSTF is rooted in some of the cultural values discussed above. It takes respect for the cultural value of Justice for all stakeholders to pursue the objectives of the Fund. It takes respect for the cultural value of Character for the trustees and managers of the fund to honestly manage the Fund. And, of course, notwithstanding the availability of equipment and supporting apparatus, it takes the respect for the cultural value of hard work for the men of the Police Force to fulfil their obligations to the government and people of Lagos State.

Concluding Thoughts

I have severally stated and hereby repeat the need for leaders at all levels of government to revive the cultural values and norms in the society. While this is a challenging thing to do, we all can take the first step. At the recent launch of a book titled, The Last Flight, a reviewer of the book, Mr. Yinka Olatunbosun noted that, “to start with, our contemporary society presents us with unique challenges of educating the younger generation on the benefits of values. In a corruption-filled society, the emphasis shifts from the pursuit of values to materialistic drive.”[5]

Indeed, the commentary above is a fair attempt at summarising the issue. While the task of ensuring that our cultural core values are not diluted or lost is daunting, everyone must start from where he or she is. As already noted, “the human mind is the seat of wisdom and decision-making or otherwise, depending largely on how the mind is trained.”[6] Therefore, one of the first steps we have taken in Lagos State is our advocacy for the placement of paramount importance on the continuous learning of indigenous languages in our schools.

Many parents are not training their kids to know and understand the realities of life and cultural values. Parents should go back to the teaching and promotion of our core cultural values. The abandonment of these cultural values has led many children to take to drugs and bad vices with the attendant challenges to national security.

Beyond the efforts to sustain and, as the case may be, to resuscitate cultural values as a veritable means for ensuring cohesiveness in the society and promoting security, I also advocate a collective vigilance mentality whereby all stakeholders in security management have properly defined roles and relationships to stay ahead of all forms of violent crimes such as terrorism, cyber and transnational organised crimes while utilizing processed intelligence made possible as a result of our cultural values.

The concept of community policing anchored on collective vigilance which, in turn, is sustained by our core cultural values, has become imperative in view of the vulnerability of Lagos State to various security threats due to continuous influx of foreigners and people from other parts of the country into Lagos on a daily basis. This influx increases our vulnerabilities to threats of terrorism, transnational organised crimes, and cyber and violent crimes of wider security dimensions and ramifications.

In Lagos State, we are resolved to continue to review and revise our policies with the aim of maintaining, at every point in time, a sustainable security framework that will stand the test of time and enable every stakeholder in Lagos to participate. So far, we have been encouraged by the massive contributions of many corporate organizations to the Security Trust Fund and by the participation of our communities in the work of the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps. Yet, there is more to be done and we will not rest on our oars as we continue to prioritise the security of the good people of Lagos State.

  1. Finally, I wish, once again, to commend the great work of the State Security Service and the Institute of Security Studies. I hope that my contributions have enriched discourse and will serve you well in the efforts to keep our great nation safe.

  1. Thank you for the opportunity to make this presentation and thanks for your kind attention. God bless you.