Election: Lagos State Government Assures Voters Of Safety

Election: Lagos State Government Assures Voters Of Safety

…Canvasses Support For Sanwo-Olu, APC Assembly Candidates

The Lagos State Government on Wednesday urged eligible voters in the State to come out enmasse on Saturday to vote in the Governorship and House of Assembly elections, assuring that adequate measures have been firmed up to ensure a hitch-free exercise.

Addressing Government House Correspondents after a Special State Executive Council Meeting at the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, on the forthcoming polls, the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode said every necessary arrangement to ensure a smooth voting exercise had been made, adding that the peace and security of the State was paramount to his administration.

“I want to assure that we would try as much as possible to ensure that the coming elections – gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections go very well. We want to also assure all Lagosians of their safety and also to let everyone know that Lagos is a cosmopolitan State and it will remain so.

“The peace and security of this State is very paramount to this government and we would ensure that everybody that is eligible to vote goes out to do so and keep the peace.

“We encourage all voters to come out on Saturday; I want to encourage all Lagosians to exercise their rights so that we can have a large turnout. The security agencies have assured us that there would be peace across the nooks and crannies of Lagos,” he said

The Governor, who is the Chairman of the State Executive Council, recalled the unfortunate incidences in some parts of the State during the Presidential and National Assembly elections, saying while such had been properly addressed, he would nonetheless want everybody to see each other as brothers.

He also urged the people to support the governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and all the House of Assembly candidates of the party to ensure continuity of good governance in the State.

According to him, “We are also very aware of the incidences that happened during the presidential election of which we have taken proper care of. We know that we are all brothers; we are all the same in this State but I urge everyone to support our government and also support our candidate because we believe in continuity in this government and that is why you see that the executive arm of government is in support of Jide Sanwo-Olu who is our flagbearer for the APC.

“We urge all Lagosians to vote for continuity and ensure that all our candidates for the House of Assembly elections also are voted for. I wish all of us a very successful voting process on Saturday and then we implore all our security agencies also to make sure that there is peace across the land.”

Besides, Governor Ambode who addressed the briefing alongside members of the State Executive Council, also clarified the news on social media to the effect that a public holiday had been declared for Civil Servants on Friday to prepare for the elections.

“We like to inform all Lagosians that contrary to what has been put in the media that there would be a public holiday on Friday, what we have actually done was to declare mid-term holiday for students across all our schools in Lagos State,” the Governor said.

Governor Ambode Seeks Support For Hitch-Free Lagos Marathon, General Elections

Governor Ambode Seeks Support For Hitch-Free Lagos Marathon, General Elections

…Urges Residents To Report Suspicious Activities

…We’ll Deal Decisively With Lawbreakers, CP Edgal Warns

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday urged residents to cooperate with security agencies in keeping the peace and ensuring safety of lives and property in the build up to the Lagos Access Marathon and the series of political events to herald the forthcoming general elections.

Addressing Government House Correspondents shortly after the Security Council meeting held at the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, the Governor said the security agencies have assured that they would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the peace enjoyed in the State would not be compromised.

Governor Ambode, who chaired the meeting which had all heads of security agencies in attendance, particularly sought the cooperation of residents for the Lagos Marathon coming up on February 2, urging them to comply with the restriction of vehicular and human movement which would be observed within the routes for the competition.

“We have just finished the security council meeting this afternoon and as you are all well aware that the general elections is coming up and in another two weeks we would be having the presidential election and then on March 2 we would have the Gubernatorial election and it’s very clear in our minds also that in this month of February, on the 2nd, we would be having the Lagos Marathon and also some political activities that would be coming up at the weekend and throughout the month of February.

“I just want to appeal to Lagosians that just as we have been doing in the past, we have ensured that the Lagos Marathon is very successful and alongside that there would be some kind of vehicular restrictions in some parts of the routes for the marathon.

“The security agencies have assured me that we would keep the peace and make sure that there is proper security of lives and property and also ensure that we have a hitch free marathon. I want to assure Lagosians that they should just keep the city safe and also ensure that whatever restriction that we are going to make on that Saturday, they bear with us and also ensure that within the few hours that the marathon would take place they should also keep the peace,” he said.

Likewise, the Governor said a lineup of political activities in the build up to the February 16 Presidential and National Assembly elections as well as the March 2 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections which would take place in the State, could require some restriction of movement, just as he appealed to residents for understanding.

He also urged residents to report any group or individuals planning to foment trouble in the State to the security agencies, assuring that the peace the State has enjoyed since the commencement of his administration would be sustained.

“I want to appeal to all of us to cooperate with the security agencies, all the head of security agencies are alive to their responsibilities and we need the cooperation of Lagosians to make sure that we have a successful season.

In the last three and half years, you can also notice that security in Lagos has improved tremendously and we intend to keep that for the rest of the year and also ensure that whenever we notice any untoward behaviour or activity from any group please be free to notify any of the heads of security agencies and we would make sure that this city is safe and prosperous,” Governor Ambode said.

Also speaking, the Commissioner of Police in the State, CP Imohimi Edgal said the Police have been holding series of stakeholders’ engagement to carry everybody along, assuring that security agencies were prepared to ensure that the inconvenience as a result of the Marathon and other political activities is minimized.

The CP also warned persons planning to use the series of upcoming activities to cause chaos in the State to desist from such, warning that security agencies are on red alert to deal decisively with such persons if caught.

“Having said that, let me also use this opportunity to inform Lagosians that in the coming days, they would be seeing a lot of police, military and other security agencies operations and activities across the State. Don’t be alarmed, it’s in order to ensure that we have hitch free exercises and anytime you are approached to vacate a location or suspend activities in a location, please cooperate with security agencies,” he said.

Remarks Of His Excellency Governor Akinwunmi Ambode At The 2018 Legal Year Ceremony

Remarks Of His Excellency Governor Akinwunmi Ambode At The 2018 Legal Year Ceremony

Let me begin by thanking Almighty God for sparing our lives to witness yet another opening of the New Legal year. I congratulate the Lagos State Judiciary under the leadership of My lord, Hon. Justice Opeyemi Oke, Chief Judge of Lagos State for the success, hardwork, dedication, and co-operation in the past few years.

 

One can safely assume from the radiant looks of My Lords and Your Honours that you have all had restful holidays and are well energised for the year ahead.

 

As you begin another Judicial Year, I assure you of our continued support and partnership. Our Administration recognises the separate but interwoven roles of the three arms of government and part of our own commitment to a lawful and orderly society is to respect the limits of those constitutionally defined roles. This we have always done.

 

One of the cardinal policies of our government has been the enthronement of law and order. Today, I stand a happy man knowing we delivered on those promises.

 

The increased workload and number of cases in our courts necessitated the appointment of more Judges and Magistrates as well as the construction of more court houses and renovation of existing courts to befit our judiciary. This had to be complemented by the improved welfare of our Judges and Magistrates.

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The introduction of the Lagos State DNA & Forensic Centre further enhanced the quality of justice delivery in the State and we have also developed policies and legislations that will aid speedy dispensation of justice.

 

As our State remains the cynosure of excellence and the economic hub of Africa, our judiciary must continue to be in the forefront of judicial reforms to meet the expectation of the modern day justice sector. My Lords, we bear the responsibility of 24 million people who look up to you and I to protect them with the law. Our justice system must remain sound, fair and effective.

 

The plague of delay in justice delivery is still of major concern. All stakeholders in the sector must ensure that the issue of delay is tackled vigorously by creating innovative models for achieving speedy and efficient justice delivery system which can be replicated more broadly across the country.

 

The expectations of the citizenry is huge and requires all stakeholders to work continuously to enhance confidence in the legal system, promote the rule of law, guarantee protection of lives and properties.

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Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, let me use this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the Clergy, our Fathers in the Lord and our Royal Fathers, for their prayers and guidance. I once again thank the judiciary for their partnership, co-operation and support, through which tremendous progress has been made in the State.

 

My lord the Chief Judge, my lords the honorable judges of the High Court of Lagos State and other judges here present, the Magistracy, members of the inner and outer bar, ladies and gentlemen, I congratulate you all on the successful commencement of the new legal year and I wish you fruitful celebrations.

 

Itesiwaju Ipinle eko, lo je wa logun

 

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.