Security Trust Fund: Lagos Now One Of The Safest Cities In Africa – Fashola
Feb 7, 2009 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), at the weekend took an overview of the Lagos State’s Security Trust Fund and its achievements so far and described Lagos as one of the safest cities in the African Continent.
Governor Fashola, who spoke at an appreciation dinner organized by the Lagos State Security Trust Fund Committee in honour of corporate Nigeria supporters of the Fund, also said by virtue of the Fund, the State now has a highly motivated police force which has every potential to be even better motivated,
“Lagos is today one of the safest cities, not just in Nigeria but on the Continent. The statistics are there, the records are there in the public domain”, the Governor said, pointing out that the security situation in the State today is far better than it was 20 months ago.
Recalling the security situation before the Fund was launched, an obviously delighted Governor Fashola declared, “I feel this way because I remember how it was in the first seven days after I became Governor; that I was daily visiting the hospitals, in an unchanging pattern, to see those who had received gunshot wounds or homes of families who had lost their relations as a result of armed robbery. That was how bad it was then. But today the situation is different”.
He paid glowing tribute to all who has contributed to the establishment and sustenance of the fund, particularly “the very few people who are particularly instrumental to the foundation of the fund” saying the situation today would not have been possible without them.
“We have come this far because of your contributions. But it would not have happened without many of you who are here today and some of you who are not here. But I remember those of you who are particularly instrumental, former Commissioner of Police, DIG Olusegun Kazeem, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, Mr. Jim Ovia, who took the very first tentative step at the first launch of the Security Trust Fund”, the Governor said.
Describing the result of that first step as very resounding, Governor Fashola further declared, “That success gave us a first big leap of faith. This dinner is, therefore, to share with you the successes that we have recorded”, adding, however, that the purpose also included bringing to their notice the challenges that have come with such successes.
Still reflecting on the successes of the Fund, Governor Fashola said, “When I reflect on the choices we could have made rather than this investment, it is clear that that there is no other choice than to continue to invest on security”, adding, “ If we think that security is expensive, we should reflect on the cost of the absence of security”.
According to Governor Fashola who acknowledged that so much has been achieved through the collaboration of the people and the successful implementation of the 2008 Budget, “the most defining development is the kick-off of the pilot programme of the CCTV in Lagos”, pointing out that this will provide the government the opportunity to assist the Police in a most contemporary fashion to police the entire State.
On the necessity of the CCTV to the security in the State, Governor Fashola said apart from the fact that it has become a common practice in modern cities including the British who introduced and formed the nation’s police “The Nigerian Police is not getting any larger and so Lagos State is not likely to get any increase in the number of police officers in the foreseeable future”
“So we are going to continue to rely on about 33, 000 police officers spread over eight area commands and 84 divisional headquarters, to police 18 million people”, the Governor lamented, pointing out that on the average it amounts to a ratio of one police officer to 600 prople.
Warning on the danger of relaxing the efforts at this point, the Governor said, “We also want to bring us to a reality check with the new challenges that come with successes because we have taken an economy, an illegal economy from criminals and I do not think they will give up lightly. Therefore, we cannot afford to assume that the job is done”.
He urged the people to continue to make contributions to the Fund, pointing out that although there is global economic meltdown and general downturn in business, “no business will even thrive when there is no security”, adding, “ as entrepreneurs, as citizens, I say we have made tremendous successes but there are challenges ahead.
He said the Fund has set new targets and new challenges not only in terms of police but also in the ability to respond to emergencies that threaten the day-to-day life of the people such as accidents, disasters and explosions and other such emergencies, adding, “They will happen in any city”.
According to him, “One of the things we think to do is to provide dedicated helicopters, not only to deal with these emergencies, but also to chase down undesirable elements who have taken benefit of our generous waterways as exit seeing that the battle on land is lost. Indeed we are at the threshold of unleashing our Water Transportation Services and this is probably the way to begin to react in a proactive rather than reactive way”.
Expressing happiness that the rank of ‘The Security Trust Fund Family’ is swelling beyond the banks and automobile dealers, to include eateries such as Big Treat, Tantalizer, the Sweet Sensation, the Governor expressed the hope that more people would become ambassadors of the Fund. He declared: “The problem of security in any place is the problem of security everywhere”
”As we get increasingly technological in our programme, security challenges will continue to get increasingly more complex and we must be proactive rather than reactive”, Governor Fashola said, pointing out that the problem of security was not only that of the banks but a collective one.
He enjoined the guests and supporters of the Fund to continue to be ambassadors of the fund by enlisting more people into the family “so that as we all, with a sense of belief and belonging will contribute something into the Fund”.
In his remarks, the State Police Commissioner, Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo expressed profound gratitude to the supporters of the Fund saying his resolve to maintain a zero crime tolerance in Lagos was further energized by the enormity of support he got from the State Government.
He recalled that when he was asked by the present Inspector General of Police, to give a lecture to his colleagues on how Lagos has achieved low crime, he told them that someone had to pay the price, attributing it all to the support of the State Government and the Private Sector.
Also speaking, the State Commissioner for Establishment and Training, Mr. Jide Sanwolu said the issue of accountability was being taken seriously in the management of the Fund, pointing out that a reputable firm of auditors was handling the auditing of the fund which records, according to him, are readily available.
Earlier, in his introductory remarks, the Executive Secretary of the Fund Mr. Arthur-Worrey said the dinner was a way by which the State Government wished to thank the supporters of the Fund in corporate Nigeria and also let others know that there are great opportunities in partnering with the Lagos State Government.
The Dinner was attended by a cross section of dignitaries from the public and private sectors as well as members of the Board of the Fund.