By Henry Oladele,
Against the backdrop of the prevailing socio-economic upheavals in the area under its purview, the Lagos Command of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), has continued to play its statutory role to safeguard lives
and properties in the nation’s commercial capital.
The Lagos State Police Command is one of the states that make up the Zone 2 Command with [pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]headquarters at Onikan in Lagos Island; there are 13 Area Commands, 107 Divisional Police Headquarters and more than 20 Police Posts in the state.
The command currently has 20 Local Government Areas and 20 Local Government Developmental Areas under its suzerainty, with an estimated population of over 13million citizens according to the 2006 census figures.
In order to maintain law and order in the Lagos metropolis and its environs, the NPF has taken proactive and innovative steps to address prevalent issues on a daily basis.
A development the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Kayode Aderanti, described as challenging.
“Due to its economic and political importance in the country, Lagos keeps attracting people from different parts of Nigeria and beyond.
“This has made Lagos to have its fair share of security challenges.
“Regardless of the phobia for perpetual increase in crime and criminality in the state in view of its peculiar nature, it is delighting to note that the state government and police command have risen to the task,’’ he said.
Since his the assumption of office in 2014, Aderanti’s reign has experienced a gradual reduction of crime, especially in car snatching, armed robbery, abductions etc.
From November 2013 to November 2014, the command arrested a total of 423 armed robbers, while 73 others died while resisting arrest and 358 vehicles were snatched of which 560 were recovered during this period.
The command also recorded 68 armed robbery incidents during this period and foiled 372 armed robbery attempts.
The command with its achievement during this period regrettably lost eight police officers in line of duty.
The command in ensuring a crime-free and safe Lagos, recovered 255 arms, while 4, 043 ammunitions were also recovered and also 280 murder cases were successfully prosecuted.
However, the command in its bid to make the state safe from crime has also gone to the extent of solving cases arising from cultism, cult related clashes.
These related cases according to Aderanti, are found in places like Mushin, Yaba, Shomolu, Surulere, Bariga and Ikorodu areas of the state.
“The command has been able to reduce Street gangsters and rivalry, motor transport unionism, thuggery and youth restiveness.
The command is not only proactive in nature but also intelligence-driven which made the command to also strategise in fighting crime in the state.
The command in stemming the ugly tide, increased police presence in some areas like the ones indicated above and some locations which have been implemented.
It also makes joint raids with personnel of the military and the Department of State Security (DSS) of identified Criminal hideouts and black spots.
In fighting crime also, it undertakes aerial patrols with helicopters using the two multipurpose helicopters acquired for the command by the Lagos State Government.
Also, training and retraining of the officers on human rights, election duty, emergency response and combat operation readiness have aided the fast process to a safer Lagos.
“Use of information boxes, which are strategically located at various points in the state, deployment of counter terrorism units and bomb squad personnel, has also been helpful in securing a Lagos.
“Dissemination of the telephone numbers of the Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers and other principal officers to the public also helped in making Lagos safe,’’ he says.
The command, aiming at better Lagos also prosecuted reported cases immediately after prompt investigation has been made.
The NPF in Lagos currently is made up of 36 commands, grouped into 12 zones and 7 administrative organs, which the current Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, deems appropriate for the stature of the state.
In spite of the perceived achievements, there are challenges and constraints it is facing which will be mentioned in subsequent details.
According to the CP, the dearth of patrol vehicles remains a great challenge.
“Many vehicles attached to the divisions have become rickety and unserviceable due to the old age and over usage.
“Another challenge is the breakdown of the command’s communication system, thus, hindering operations and anti-crime activities.
“Currently, the command has two repeaters bases situated at NITEL building at Marina and Alausa.
“The one at Marina is too old, develops fault at random and makes radio communication very difficult,” he says.
He added that the command also lacked a state of the art laboratory, to assist in investigation of cases in line with current trends and was of the belief that with such paraphernalia in place, the NPF will be able to operate beyond its current capabilities.
With all the outlined challenges, the police have still been able to secure and reduce crime in Lagos to the barest minimum and will not relent in doing so.
“The Lagos State Police Command is now a model for other state commands in the country.
“The command will not relent in its efforts to consolidate on the achievements so far recorded and will also improve on the success recorded in fighting crime and criminalities,’’ the commissioner of police says.
In addition to what Aderanti had said about the efforts the Lagos Command of the NPF has been doing to effectively police the state, Mr Wilson Esangbedo, a security consultant, says the police have been doing their best to ensure law and order.
He added that crime rate has reduced drastically within the past years and this has restored public confidence at the way and manner the police have been going about their duty.
It is important to acknowledge that the Lagos State security trust fund conceived by Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola and established by a Law of the Lagos State House of Assembly in 2007 has made immense contributions toward ensuring good vehicles and equipment for the command to operate effectively.
The idea of establishing the fund which was modelled on a public/private arrangement became imperative when the governor received and reviewed the report of the high powered Security Committee he established under the Chairmanship of Musiliu Smith, a former Inspector-general of Police.
Making it a public/private sector institution is to guarantee regular access to funding, faster decision making and accountability.
“The Commissioner of Police, AIG Umaru Manko who is also in charge of Lagos, says the command is doing its best to make sure Lagos and the states in Zone 2 free from crime,’’ he said.
He also commended the Federal Government for what it was doing to improve the capabilities of the police in the nation and Lagos in particular.
“The Lagos State Security Trust Fund is also doing its best to make sure the police force is adequately equipped to fight and curb crime,’’ he said.
A Lagos-based lawyer, Spurgeon Attainne, also lauded the efforts of the police, saying the force had been more effective within the past year.
“The Lagos State Police Command under the auspices of CP Kayode Aderanti has been effective and I advise the command not to relent in its efforts,’’ he said.
He also urged the government to also make resources available for the command for more effectiveness on the job.
He advised the police officers to be more diligent in their duties and should eschew acts that could tarnish their image.
With the glowing testimonies being heaped on the Lagos Command of the NPF, the Police Service Commission in conjunction with the office of the Inspector General of the NPF must ensure that the rising profile of the police must be sustained with the requisite logistics to thrive as it should. (NANFEATURES)