Investment In Crime Prevention By State Government, Partners Yielding Results - Fashola
…As Governor hosts 7th Town Hall Meeting on Security, decries inadequacy for funding of security agencies, opposition to State Police by FG
Nov 28, 2013 - Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Thursday hosted the Lagos State Security Trust Fund's 7th Annual Town Hall Meeting on Security with an assertion that the collective investment of the State and citizenry in crime prevention is paying dividends visible in lower crime rates when compared with last year.
Noting that progress is being recorded from year to year through the initiative, the Governor who spoke at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island before a gathering of private sector operatives, senior Police officers, other security commanders and para- military agencies as well as the citizens, said in seven years, the state has developed a security apparatus that has improved upon what was inherited.
According to the Governor, the security of life is not just about putting armed men on the streets but also about thinking and formulating policy initiatives that helps to protect the life the of the average resident of the state.
Governor Fashola lamented the inadequate funding of the Nigeria Police by the Federal Government which is also averse to State Police formation saying what is earmarked for funding the Police nationwide is N8Billion after the removal of overhead costs.
"It cannot surprise that all of the police formation under the control of the federal government get allocated three vehicles a year. It defines the enormity of the responsibility we have at the State Security Trust Fund. But out there, it is a grave irony that a government that provides three vehicles for each State Police Command is unable to resolve how N225M was used to buy one vehicle for one officer", he said.
Continuing, the Governor called for deep reflection and seriousness about the priorities accorded the safety of life and property as well as the levity with which impropriety is being treated.
"A quick mathematics reveals that while the average vehicle is bought for N5million, you would have put 55 more vehicles on the road with the N225Million. If you now think of what happened to N2.3Trillion spent on fuel subsidy and how much the money would have done in the hands of the security agencies of this country as we can't find the fuel just as we can't find the money", he noted.
The Governor reiterated that the State's investment in crime prevention and crime reduction is yielding some of the results as have been seen in data provided at the event, revealing that in other areas the State's crime data base has now acquired a record content of 92,488 persons.
He said the data base helps government to keep in track with all those who come in contact with the criminal justice system by providing and collecting data of such people.
He stated that a year after the State Traffic law was enacted; the statistics speaks for itself as the incidences of motorcycle related robberies reduced from about 60percent in 2012 down to 16 percent in 2013.
He added that in terms of safety of lives, before the law Lagos used to have not less than 600 accidents on motorcycles reported every month in the state but that the number has dropped to a little over 100 now. "We used to have a minimum of 15 deaths every month in 2012 on motorcycles, that number has dropped to 1 and it might interest you to know that in October, September and August, no deaths were recorded on motorcycle in Lagos State", he said.
"Once you are arrested and taken to court, you are on that database. We are preparing for a future of crime prevention that is technologically driven, scientifically grounded and result assured", he assured.
While giving some data on what it takes to patrol the State, the Governor said it would cost at least N45Billion to patrol the over 10,000 roads in Lagos and fuelling of about 9000 vehicles with at least 20 liters of fuel daily which would gulp at least N17.4Million daily to fuel the patrol vehicles.
Explaining that Lagos clearly does not have the financial capacity to purchase all such vehicles as it also has to deploy its resources to building roads, upgrading schools and building hospitals, the Governor said the State Government is proposing to add another 100 vehicles to the Rapid Response Squad fleet.
According to Governor Fashola, in addition to the issue of violent crimes that RRS is poised to tackle, several others crimes like domestic violence, rape are daily occurring hence the State Government is proposing the provision of three vehicles for each of the 13 Area Commands in the State and another three vehicles each for the 106 Police Divisions in the State totaling 357 new vehicles in addition to what RRS has in its fleet.
"It is a long way off from 9000 vehicles needed. The process of acquisition and maintenance for the 357 new vehicles for only one year is only about N2.3Billion. That is the undertaking before us. If you are up for N2.3Billion, let me hear your applause", the Governor told the audience.
Encouraging everyone to be sufficiently concerned to support the State's Security Trust Fund, the Governor said if anyone thinks security is expensive he should not contemplate insecurity because as a Government, the measure of success of the present administration has never been about the number of times that it gets it right security wise noting that such feats don't get headline news, because the only ones that get headline news are the ones that it gets wrong.
"We need to be right every time while the criminal needs to be right only once so as we sit and contemplate the choice, let us understand that in order to get more gallantry out of these officers, this is a measure of what it would take", he stressed.
The Governor who also spoke on the need to build capacity in each of the Police Divisions said when security breaches happen it creates a new problem as a victim emerges who must get justice.
Giving further insights into this, he said over the years there has been a diminishing or entire loss of the crime scene prevention and evidence gathering system in the enforcement agencies and this accounts for his being at the forefront of pushing the campaign for law enforcement officers to take charge of the scenes of crime.
"This has dominated our meetings in the last 6 months. When the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) does not see sufficient evidence in a particular case, he says we can't prosecute and the evidence is lost in the scene. If all you have is the confession of the suspect and he gets to court and says the statement was forcibly taken. That case may suffer a setback", he said.
The Governor explained that this represents the new frontier of investment by the administration and would involve new training new equipment while the cost is being quantified.
Underscoring the need for increased vigilance especially during the yuletide period, he urged all those who own and run businesses like eateries to consider investing in Close Circuit Cameras (CCTV) by installing at least one in their business premises, adding that while government will provide the CCTV at major points on the road, it cannot install it in private homes.
While thanking the personnel of the various security agencies for their dedication and diligence, the Governor congratulated all the honoured officers and men for their gallantry, adding that when Nigerian leaders hold different awards and give honours to undeserving people, the Policemen deserve some recognition.
Giving an account of the crime rate in the State in the last one year, the State Police Commissioner, Mr Umar Manko said as a result of the consistent support from the State Government especially through the State Security Trust Fund and Local Governments, the State Command has been able to tackle the menace of crimes and criminality headlong and successfully reduced them.
He said in terms of the success of the State Traffic Law, out of 60 cases of armed robbery incidents reported, only 10 representing 16.6 percent were committed through motorcycles and represents a 50.4percent drop in robbery incidents compared to one year before the restriction of commercial motorcycles.
He added that for that period, there has been a drop of 84.75percent on the cases of armed robbery that has to do with motorcycles in the state, adding that the Police believe that by the time it improves on that, the time will come when it will become a thing of the past in the state.
He also advocated that the criminal justice system of the country should be reformed in such a manner that would guarantee faster and impartial dispensation of justice to all concerned regardless of their social status.
The Executive Secretary, Mr Fola Arthur- Worrey while giving his report said since the last meeting in December the Fund has distributed 41 vehicles directly from the Fund's assets to plug gaps and add capacity to a diverse range of law enforcement and security agencies.
He added that the needs of the crime fighting agencies are continuous as they need bullet proof jackets and ballistic helmets to go up against the increasingly desperate criminals and also need uniforms, boots, cold weather gear and other kits.
He expressed the appreciation of the Fund to the donors, especially those who have stood by the Fund almost year on year since the early days while appealing to all the corporate institutions, professional associations and high- net-worth individuals who have yet to join the train to come on board for the collective benefit of everyone.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman of the Security Trust Fund, Mr Remi Makanjuola said the Fund will continue to play a significant role in the collective well being of everyone to the extent that it remains the most significant institution partnering with the Police and other agencies to enable them carry out their mandate of providing law, order and relative safety.
He added that in the last seven years, the State Security Trust Fund has been able to pool together nearly N12 Billion in cash and assets to supplement security which has been duly accounted for.
Mr Taiwo Oyaniran representing Pricewater House Coopers read the report of the independent auditor to the Trustees of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund at the event which also featured the recognition of brave Police officers and men who distinguished themselves in combating crime at various times.
Donations and pledges were made at the occasion to support the State Security Trust Fund by many of the invited guests that included members of the Organized Private Sector (OPS), members of the State Executive Council including the Commissioners for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Prince Gbolahan Lawal and Science and Technology, Mr Adebiyi Mabadeje, former Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, industrialist, Sir Molade Okoya-Thomas and former Minister, Chief Julius Adelusi Adeluyi and a member of the board of Trustees, DIG Segun Kazeem (Rtd)among several others.