Fashola Reiterates Call For State Police As Platform For Internal Security, Law, Order
• Says State's Security Trust Fund has become a model for resourcefulness, accountability, cosmopolitan law enforcement
• "Credit for a safer Lagos should go to the men and women of security agencies; they are champions of Lagos security", he says
Nov 27, 2014 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Thursday reiterated his call for the establishment of State Police in the country noting that it is the most potent platform on which internal security could be built.
Governor Fashola, who spoke at the City Hall, Lagos venue of the 8th Town Hall Meeting on Security, said a situation where a Chief Executive, also called"Chief Security Officer" of a State has no control over the instruments of state security and enforcement of law and order could not guarantee any security in that state.
Citing the state of security in Lagos as a result of the intervention of his administration in the last eight years, the Governor pointed out that the crime situation in the State in 2007 would have made it ungovernable if he had relied on dictates of the nation's constitutional structure which places all control and operational command of the security agencies under the exclusive control of the President.
He said it would have tantamount to irresponsibility for his administration to fold its arms in the face of daily violent robberies and loss of life and property in the State adding that the citizens of Lagos elected him to solve their problems including insecurity and other forms of crime that threaten their life and comfort.
Stating that State Police is a necessity dictated by commonsense, Governor Fashola declared, "The citizens of Lagos elected me to solve their problems and I determined that irrespective of what Abuja did, I would be awake and working with relevant agencies and the good citizens of the State, I would endeavour to achieve a sufficient level of security to enable people go about their legitimate businesses".
The Governor advocated the continued financing of the State's Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) as a platform for the sustenance of high level security in the State saying the innovation is a model for transparency, resourcefulness and cosmopolitan law enforcement.
He enjoined them to endeavour to continue funding the innovation pointing out that Lagosians have a moral obligation to retain the model given the impact it has had in improving the quality of life of residents who, according to him, have been largely removed from the atmosphere of fear and anxiety which was the situation some years ago.
The Governor said the sustenance of the Fund since 2007 by the State and Local Governments in partnership with individual and corporate bodies has also improved the lifestyle of Lagosians bringing back the night economy and life changing innovations which have combined to make Lagos a model after which other states of the country now build their security initiatives.
"Today, many streets are lit up at night, the shops and fuel stations run till and beyond midnight; some do so for 24 hours. The night economy is up and running, supported by patrol vehicles and our security men and women", he said adding that night life has also resumed for most residents.
Recalling the events that gave birth to the innovation, Governor Fashola said the incessant occurrence of various crimes in the city, particularly violent crimes such as armed robbery and bank robberies and the apparent inability of the Police to respond to the situation made him to seek the advice of prominent residents and experts, which, according to him, led to the setting up of a committee whose recommendations led to the formation of the State Security Trust Fund.
The Governor, who gave a recap of the situation before the existence of the Trust Fund, further recalled, "Indeed, the major conversation at social events was about who had been the latest victim of a robbery, where it had taken place, whether on the road or at a home and what has been the cost in life and property".
He, however, said since the establishment of the Fund the State has consistently confronted the various crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping and terrorism adding that from an arm stock of just 37 rifles available to the Rapid Response Squad in 2007, the State now has thousands of guns and other security gadgets for the overall maintenance of law and order in the State.
Governor Fashola, who expressed joy that the Fund has enabled Government to take criminals off the streets and put them where they would do no more harm to law abiding members of the society, added that the logic behind the Fund was to use the collective resources of the people to protect all instead of just individuals.
The Governor expressed gratitude to all Lagosians particularly those who contributed the seed fund as well as other drivers of the Fund for the support and encouragement which has seen the Fund at the present stage and has helped the State "to climb out of a situation of daily bank robbery to which the Police could not respond".
According to him, such support and encouragement brought the State to a situation where there were no bank robberies for over four years while in spite of the subsequent attempts that have followed since then, there has been no successful armed invasion of any bank in Lagos since 2008.
"I think if there was any measure by which our Government was to be assessed, I think our dogged and unflinching commitment to the protection of life and property will stand out as one of the shining beacons of progress", Governor Fashola said adding that the real challenge was how to keep the residents safe without making them afraid.
The Governor paid glowing tribute to the members of the Board of Trustees of the Fund, who he noted have neither had any misunderstanding among themselves nor had any case of misappropriation of funds since the inception of the Fund adding that Lagos has provided a training ground from which Police officers have been taken to higher responsibilities in the last eight years.
Charging the residents to retain the model, the Governor declared, "The challenge is whether we want to keep this model and that is something you have to decide. I think it is a great model, many other states have adopted it, many have asked us to help them set it up; some have taken the law and run with it making their own amendments to suit their own peculiar circumstances".
"This model has also attracted international interest. The Executive Secretary, Mr. Fola Arthur-Worrey, has been invited to the United Nations to brief them on how it has worked and what it has achieved. It has won awards both locally and internationally. So whether you retain it or not, you decide because you bring the money", he said.
Governor Fashola said the necessity for the Fund was emphasized by the failure of the central Government that should resource, fund and equip police men adding, "The measure of every society's civilization is the Police. How well they do depends on how seriously you take them".
Emphasizing the need for the people to make the Police feel valued and appreciated, the Governor pointed out that by extending charity to Police formations in whatever location they are, members of the communities would be enhancing their proficiency and confidence in carrying out their duties adding that such charity could be in the form of food during festivities or donations of materials to make the Police Stations more comfortable.
In his own remarks earlier, the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Security Trust Fund, Mr. Fola Arthur-Worrey, noted that the State Government is responsible for the fuelling of vehicles, payment of allowances to the security operatives and the release of funds to support special operations.
Listing the security equipment and materials which the Trust Fund has acquired since inception to boost security in the State, the Executive Secretary said the State Government and the Fund have also been involved in insurance scheme for men who are injured or died on duty, caters for medical care and reward system for brave officers and those that lost their lives in action.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Fund, Mr. Remi Makanjuola, highlighted that the fund had in the last seven years focused on the careful and targeted management of fund resources adding that the Board had focused on the various categories of violent crime and the threat of terrorism.
He noted that for the security agencies to perform their duties effectively, the board procured such necessary working tools as vehicles, fueling, maintenance, bullet proof vest, helmet, uniforms, handcuffs, all weather gear, communication assets as well as taken care of other issues including the upgrading of Police Stations, offices and bases so as to enable them to be in an ideal working condition.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of Bravery and Awards of Excellence to 25 Police men and women who have distinguished themselves in service in the last one year. While nine of the officers were given the Award for Gallantry and Service Excellence, 16 others were given the Award foe Honour and Service Excellence.
Prominent among those present at the occasion were the Deputy Governor, Hon. (Mrs.) Adejoke Orelope–Adefulire, Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Biyi Mabadeje, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Major. Tunde Panox, Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Taofeek Tijani, Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed, Special Adviser to the Governor on Taxation, Mr. Bimbola Sodipo, Security Chiefs, White Cap chiefs, Religious Leaders and corporate supporters of the Security Trust Fund as well as other top government functionaries.