Fashola Launches First Ever State Law Enforcement Training Institute, Presides Over Graduation of 3311 LASTMA, KAI Officials
…Joy among officers as Governor announces creation of Law Enforcement Cadre, their absorption into State Public Service
…3 Traffic Volunteers also honoured with permanent engagement
Dec 10, 2013 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) Tuesday launched the Lagos State Law Enforcement Training Institute and presided over the graduation of its first 3311 graduates even as he announced the creation of a Law Enforcement Cadre in the State Public Service to ensure career progression for all the officers of the two agencies who have been absorbed as permanent staff.
The Governor who spoke at the ceremony which took place at the Sir Molade Okoya Thomas Indoor Sports Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere added that the new public servants will be entitled to all the benefits every public servant has including pension rights under the contributory scheme.
"We have created a new cadre of employment in the Lagos State public service. We have created the law enforcement cadre for you alone. As I said, it has been two years of brutal work but I think we have arrived at a safe destination from which to take off and so people will come in with a right of election into the public service to say they want to be in the law enforcement cadre and as such after the training, the choice of posting will determine whether you go to LASTMA or KAI".
Continuing, the Governor explained that the cadre has been designed to take cognizance of the various levels of academic qualifications that applicants may present. "There will be threshold entry levels so that school certificate holders do not lead graduates and we would encourage in service training so that you can rise from rank to rank until you reach the pinnacle of your career", he reiterated.
Governor Fashola however, underscored the need for the officers to rise up to expectations noting that as the State Government offers the incentives it also expects the officers to give something in return which is to ensure that they do the job with passion, pride, dignity and fear of God for the citizens who employed them.
He charged the graduating officers to remember the event and the array of guests who have honoured them with their presence ensuring that they resist whatever temptation they come across and not to let themselves and their relations down.
"As you go out remember this day and this people so that you resist whatever temptation you come across. Not to let yourself and them down. Please be reminded that in the public space there is no hiding place. It is not only these cameramen and photographers that engage in this profession. Everybody now has a camera phone".
"We are putting our strongest foot forward as a government and as a people. Let me also re-emphasize that you are on a public theatre like actors on a stage but unlike those in Nollywood there is no retake, no editing opportunity. We will never have that opportunity in the public stage because it is only one take and we must always get it right. That officer who went to extort money had a bad take and cannot be edited. The officer who brutalizes members of the public in the course of performing his duties will not have a retake opportunity as well", he explained.
The Governor reminded that the job is going to require lot of restraints, a lot of patience, maturity and a lot of passion to do the work and live up to the brand that the State Government has put forward.
He said for those who often remark that the job of LASTMA and KAI is a thankless job, what they should realize is that the people of the state are extremely appreciative and that if the officials change the game, the residents will change the music.
Governor Fashola said as part of the reforms, all of the 30 offices where the officials work in very difficult conditions are undergoing a total remake as they are being rebuilt, refurnished and re-equipped informing that four of the offices are ready and that another four would be ready soon.
Emphasizing the need for the reforms, the Governor recalled that sometimes ago at the outset of the enlightenment campaign on the new Traffic Law, he addressed a group of residents on the operation of the traffic law in the state and during the interactive session, the debate eventually became centred on the operation of LASTMA rather than the Traffic Law.
"But I stood there knowing that some of you had died on this job, knowing that some of you had been incapacitated ion this job, knowing that many of you stand in the sun and the rain to keep traffic in Lagos moving, knowing that some of you act selflessly to keep this state from being submerged by flood. Even on environmental morning, when the rich are having extra hours of sleep, you are out there cleaning and clearing. I was overwhelmingly confident", he said.
The Governor explained that the reaction of the people however sent a message to him that the agency has developed a love- hate relationship with the people "because you are the people that Lagosians love to hate but must turn it into a love- love relationship".
"It is a good brand which we must improve upon. It is a brand which only dedicated men can improve upon. The people already recognize that you are a necessary part of their lives. In those conversations, they agree that you add value, what they are saying is simply a challenge to make it better because we had already done the hard work".
"When people remind us that we have not finished our work, I see it as a vote of confidence on our ability because you have not asked us to leave. Each time they complain, they are endorsing our capacity to do it and they have asked me to ask you to do it", the Governor emphasized.
He said at the heart of the reforms being undertaken is the determination to reward service and punish deviant behaviours, adding that there are a few people who give LASTMA/KAI a bad name, but that government will not relent in fishing them out and bringing them to justice.
The Governor commended the Commencement Speaker, Mrs Funke Aboyade (SAN) for being justifiably vocal about the image of LASTMA and KAI and for also agreeing to join the State Government in rebuilding a strong brand, saying she will henceforth be a member of the state team and will watch the LASTMA and KAI OFFICERS and put them under the spotlight.
In a speech, the Commencement Speaker and Editor of the Law Section of the ThisDay newspaper, Mrs Funke Aboyade (SAN) said she is very impressed by the training that the officers have undergone since 24TH September 2012, when the programme began.
"You have undergone leadership and mentorship sessions, you have been trained in emotional intelligence, empathy, communication skills, law enforcement and community relations, as well as behavioural and personality system analysis".
"Your training and your renewed focus on community outreach and advocacy will help Lagosians see the human face of the KAI Brigade and LASTMA; after all you are all Lagosians too! And you are Lagosians first before anything else. It is time the people of Lagos state saw the human face of the people who keep us safe, who help to manage the traffic on our roads and keep our environment clean, orderly and beautiful. You have a fundamental role to play as law enforcement officers and the work you do is critical to the sustainable economic growth of Lagos state. Without you, Lagos would not be the beautiful and largely safe economic hub that it is today", she added.
She noted that as the graduates begin work with and within communities as advocates of enlightenment they will begin to change the attitude of fellow Lagosians and will also begin to see that the public treatment and perception of them will change for the better.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Transport Education, Dr Mariam Masha said the Career Evaluation Training Programme (CETP) which began with LASTMA and KAI was intended to determine suitability and ability of each personnel for the assigned job, achieve appropriate re-orientation and professionalism of the officers and equip officers with the requisite skills for their assigned tasks.
She reminded everyone that for any society to thrive, allowing the citizens to live full, meaningful lives, law and order must prevail and that everyone must appreciate that laws are made by man for his protection and safety and must therefore observe his civic duty and accept the basic principle of obeying the law and respecting the officers who enforce it.
"To our officers, be reminded that we cannot intimidate others into behaving, when we ourselves are misbehaving. It is important I remind you of the tools of your trade. They are the law which empowers you to work, your physical body as you carry no weapons and importantly, your ability to positively influence the members of the community you serve to do the right thing. They must trust and respect you. It is mutual, as you must do same", she emphasized.
The event also witnessed the special recognition of three volunteer traffic officers namely Mr Anthony Edewor, Mr Salisu Adamu who both operated in front of the intersection of Third Mainland Bridge and exit to Victoria Island on the Marina in front of Lagos House and Mr Salisu Audu who directs traffic at the intersection before the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.
They were decorated by the Governor as Supernumerary Assistant Volunteers with reward and are to be issued letters of engagement by the Head of Service in Lagos State at the event which also featured the graduating officers reciting the Code of Ethics before awards of excellence were presented to officers who distinguished themselves during the training programme.
Prominent among those who witnessed the event which also featured the inspection of a Guard of Honour mounted by a select team of LASTMA and KAI officers by the Governor were the first Civilian Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, first Military Governor of Lagos State, Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson(rtd), Deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope- Adefulire, members of the State Executive Council including the Commissioner for Transportation, Hon Kayode Opeifa, former Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, former Minister of Works, Alhaji Femi Okunnu (SAN), Chancellor of Lagos State University, Sir Molade Okoya- Thomas, representatives of military and para-military agencies and people from various walks of life.