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.

 

Security Of Lives, Property Our Biggest Achievement In Three Years

Security Of Lives, Property Our Biggest Achievement In Three Years

Buratai Lauds Lagos Gov’s Developmental Drive, Support For Security Agencies

…As Army Opens Base In Epe

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday described the security of lives and property of residents as the biggest achievement of his administration in the last three years, saying it was gratifying to note that the State is now the safest in Africa.

Speaking at the commissioning of a Forward Operating Base (FOB) of the Nigerian Army in Epe, Governor Ambode said the combined investment of his administration in the security architecture of the State and efforts of security agencies had resulted in peaceful atmosphere for residents and visitors.

The Governor, who recalled the days of kidnapping, cultism and other security challenges in Ikorodu and Epe axis, said it was satisfying that the activities of criminal elements such as militants, among others had been confined to history in the State.

“As I mark my own three years in office tomorrow (Tuesday), I can say significantly that if there is anything that I have actually achieved in these three years is the security and safety of lives and property in Lagos State.

“There is no way that could have been possible and that is why I say it quietly and openly if not for the support and cooperation of all the security agencies and most significantly the efforts of the Nigerian Army which is actually hidden underground but visibly seen by everything that is going on here,” he said.

Recalling his early days in office, the Governor said his first major task was how to address kidnapping and other nefarious activities perpetrated by militants in Ishawo axis, adding that a Military Base was eventually set up as well as Military Operation code-named “Operation Awatse.”

“At the beginning, the issue of kidnapping and cultism was actually in this eastern axis between Epe and Ikorodu but with the efforts that we have seen and visible to all of us, it has become a thing of the past and we are very grateful to the Nigerian Army.

“I want to quickly recollect that my first task was the issue of kidnapping that was so notorious in area of Ishawo in Ikorodu and there and then, we had the support of the Nigerian Army to set up a small base and we had to also take over property of some of those militants to accommodate the Military Base,” he recalled.

He said crime rate had drastically reduced in the State, and that no efforts would be spared in sustaining the peace in the State.

“I must say the last three years have been very peaceful and everybody would agree that crime rate has reduced in Lagos. We need to sustain it because at the end of the day that is what really grows our GDP and that is what makes other people to want to come to Lagos and I can clearly and openly declare that Lagos right now is the safest city across Africa,” the Governor said.

While alluding to how former military barrack in Epe was closed, Governor Ambode described the commissioning of the FOB as historic and significant considering the fact that it was witnessed by traditional rulers and community leaders in the area, saying the development was a new dawn for community relationship with the Army in the axis.

Besides, the Governor lauded the General Officer Commanding in charge of 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Enobong Udoh for his steadfastness in promoting peace in the State, just as he reiterated commitment to continually support the Military and other security agencies in the State.

“I want to openly say I will support the second FOB that is coming up in Ikorodu and if there is any need for us to give further support for gunboat engines or infrastructure, you can count on us that we would support anything that will keep the lives and property of our people safe at all times.

“Our support for Operation Awatse is continual and we would support every other thing that is necessary and also beyond this, we would also support the welfare of all the security agencies that are operating in Lagos so that we can continue to have peace.

“What we are seeing is a new strategy to keep our outer spaces safer than ever before and we need the Military presence in Ikorodu, in Epe and all the outer spaces so that we can go away from the central protection and also make every other place in Lagos livable and also economically viable,” the Governor said.

Governor Ambode also commended the new initiative by the Nigerian Army to promote human security alongside national security, saying the State Government was solidly behind any initiative aimed at ensuring unity of the country.

Earlier in his remarks, Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai commended Governor Ambode for the support to security agencies and the massive infrastructural development across the length and breadth of the State, saying the initiatives of the Governor were laudable.

“We really want to thank you (Governor Ambode) for the transformation and development going on in Lagos State.

“We acknowledge the transformation in Lagos and we say thank you,” Buratai said.

He said the FOB was set up to enhance security in the axis, and as well help to facilitate other military formations that would soon be moved to the area.

Security: We’ve Degraded Militant, Badoo Groups In Lagos

Security: We’ve Degraded Militant, Badoo Groups In Lagos

…Says Crime Rate Now On Consistent Decline

…As Ambode Advocates Collective Vigilance To Stay Ahead Of Violent Crimes

Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Imohimi Edgal on Monday said the activities of the dreaded Badoo Cult Group hitherto prevalent in Ikorodu axis of the State as well as militancy especially along the riverine communities have been degraded in the State.

Speaking at the inaugural edition of the Lagos State Security Summit held at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Edgal said it was also gratifying to report that in view of the massive assistance extended to security forces by the State Government through consistent donation and funding of security equipment, crime rate was now on consistent decline in the State.

Edgal, who gave an overview of crime statistics in the State, said from 2014 till date, a total of 1315 armed robbery attacks, 359 cult-related cases and 392 kidnapping cases were recorded, with several arrests made and prosecutions ongoing, while based on the community policing and security partnership he put in place upon assumption of office as CP, all militants groups hitherto operating in the State have been degraded and incapacitated from carrying out attacks.

He also said the policy had greatly helped in putting a stop to activities of dreaded cult groups such as Badoo, with all their shrines demolished, while from January till date, no attack had been recorded from the militants.

He said: “In comparison, when I became Commissioner of Police, Lagos State in September last year, I introduced my own policing plan powered by the strategy and philosophy of community policing and community safety partnership.

“Policing like we all know is more about strategy and technology but there are other factors that come to play such as logistics and all that but when there is a clear-cut strategy backed with the right technology, then the war against crime would be won.

“Based on the partnership with the community and other security outfits within our communities, we have been able to bring the activities of Badoo cult group to an end and also discovered suspected notorious shrines in Ikorodu and environs used for suspected ritual killings and other form of crimes. These shrines have all been demolished.”

The CP said to a large extent, the police command, under his watch, had leveraged on the existing goodwill with the State Government and the public to keep the State safe.

“Since my assumption of office, we have leveraged on the robust goodwill existing between the police and the government on one hand and members of the public on the other hand to record some modest achievements that have not only consolidated on the achievements of my predecessor and also ensured that the Command keep the flag flying,” the CP said.

He said a total of 15 town hall meetings were organised for him to meet with members of various communities and in all the meetings, the issue of trust consistently featured, while in response, a citizens complaint call centre was played up where people could lodge petition on issues bordering on professional misconduct of police officers, and that such had helped to rekindle confidence of the public in the police.

Going forward, Edgal called for increased manpower and a system to stop the practice whereby people spread fear through social media, as well as legislation to compel all businesses to install CCTV cameras within their premises.

Besides, the CP advocated the deepening of intelligence-led policing, involvement of traditional leaders in security architecture and investment in training of security personnel to bring about efficiency.

On his part, Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode advocated the concept of collective vigilance whereby all stakeholders in security management have properly defined roles and relationships to stay ahead of all form of violent crimes such as terrorism, cyber and transnational organized crimes.

He said the concept had become imperative in view of the vulnerability of the 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.

According to the Governor, “There is a need to examine the concept of collective vigilance in a Mega-City security system in which all stakeholders have properly defined roles and relationships from the primary levels of community security initiatives to tertiary levels in the State.

“This has become necessary because of the continuous influx of foreigners and people from other parts of the country, in their thousands, into Lagos State on daily basis. This has increased our vulnerabilities to threats of terrorism, transnational organized crimes, cyber and violent crimes of wider security dimensions,” the Governor said.

Governor Ambode, who was represented by Chairman of the State’s Security Trust Fund, Mr Oye Hassan-Odukale, said since assumption of office, his administration had been consistently implementing its cardinal programs built on the tripod of security, infrastructural development and poverty alleviation through employment generation, adding that it was gratifying that the policy had been yielding positive fruits.

He said: “Our human security focus has not only shaped our security architecture which is safety and civilian driven, from the primary to tertiary levels, but also guided our choice of infrastructural development projects and directly improves the life of Lagosians.

“A further analysis of our efforts indicates that less time now spent in traffic by motorists based on our transport sector reforms, better roads to increase the lifespan of vehicles, affordable housing programs, functional health care and education services, as well as employment generation value chain, have all enhanced the well-being of Lagosians. These efforts have indeed reduced all shades of criminalities in the State.”

While describing the theme of the summit – “Securing Lagos State: Towards a Sustainable Framework for Modern Mega City,” as apt, Governor Ambode said it was specifically designed to deliberate and chart a course to resolve and improve on the existing security in Lagos and the need for a clear direction to the expansion of security architecture to deal with security challenges of the future combining the short, mid and long terms respectively.

The Governor said as a government, his administration was not only passionate about development but also security of residents, adding however that in spite of the support extended so far by the State Government to security agencies through the Security Trust Fund, a lot more still needed to be done.

“We must create a sustainable security framework; a framework which 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, but there is still a lot more to be done,” Governor Ambode said.

The Governor, who also called for consideration of private security sector into the mainstream security architecture of the State, said his expectation at the summit was nothing but actionable outcomes that could be implemented to make the State safer.

“Our children must be able to move about without us worrying about them. We must ensure that Lagos continues to be a State of prosperity for all residents and visitors,” Governor Ambode said.