Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday, reiterated his administration’s commitment to security, saying the State Government has always been in support of the desire to embrace community policing as a strategy to enhance the safety of lives and property.
He spoke during the Renewed Hope Police Agenda Citizens Townhall Engagement on Strengthening Policing in Nigeria, themed: “Community Policing: Building a Safer Nigeria Together,” held at Victoria Island, Lagos on Monday.
Speaking during the town hall engagement organised by the Ministry of Police Affairs, Governor Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State has over the years supported the Nigeria Police in ensuring effective community policing.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was part of the panelists, also called for modernisation of the security architecture and operations with the deployment of state-of-the-art technology for improved efficiency, noting that the security personnel need smartphones to enhance information dissemination and intelligence.
He said: “For us in Lagos State, and as should be expected of the economic, commercial and industrial nerve centre of Nigeria, the safety of lives and property has always been a top priority. It is a strong factor in our administration’s commitment to create and sustain a conducive environment that is attractive for local and foreign investment.
“To achieve this objective, we have initiated a number of strategies aimed at strengthening the capacity and the will of the Lagos State Police Command and other security agencies in the State to enhance their effectiveness in tackling security challenges in all the nooks and crannies of the State.
“We have been able to achieve this largely through the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), a special purpose vehicle created in 2006 to finance security in the State. Through this platform to which individuals and corporate organisations have continued to contribute both financially and materially, we have been able to support the Police and other sister security agencies with thousands of vehicles and equipment that have gone a long way to strengthen the security architecture in the State.”
He stressed further that: “Lagos State Government has always been in support of the desire to embrace community policing as a strategy to enhance the safety of lives and property. The establishment of Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps established in 2016 was in pursuance of the government’s effort to promote community policing in Lagos State.
“There is no gainsaying that with less than 20,000 personnel strength, Lagos State, with a population of over 22 million is grossly under-policed by international standards. One of the ways we can bridge this gap is to encourage the involvement of the people through community policing. In addition, we must also modernise our security architecture and operations with the deployment of state-of-the-art technology for improved efficiency.
“As I speak, we are currently installing smart cameras across the city. These cameras are connected to a Command-and-Control centre where several points in the city are monitored in real-time. The command-and-control centre has direct lines to the Police emergency first responders, fire and rescue service among others.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu also commended the Minister of State for Police Affairs, Hon Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim and the top echelon of the Nigeria Police for organising the Citizens Town Hall Engagement on Strengthening Policing in Nigeria.
“You can continue to count on the support, partnership and collaboration of the Lagos State government for the successful implementation of this important agenda,” the Governor assured.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of State for Police Affairs, Hon. Imaan Suleiman-Ibrahim, said the first Renewed Hope Police Agenda Citizens Townhall Meeting held in Lagos is aimed at providing a platform for direct engagement among all stakeholders in the security ecosystem.
Suleiman-Ibrahim said the engagement which was also aimed at fostering collaboration between the Police and the public, as well as strengthening community policing, promoting development and research, increasing trust and confidence in the Nigeria Police, amongst others would be extended to other states.
The Minister who disclosed that Nigeria needs to invest a minimum of N3.4trillion annually over the next five years to bridge the policing gap, commended Lagos State for setting the space for other states on effective and efficient security, particularly the establishment of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund.
She said the President Bola Tinubu’s administration had embarked on various police reforms, stating that “We want a Nigeria Police that is recognised for professionalism, transparency, accountable practices. A force that is inclusive, community-based, technology-driven and intelligently led with high level of efficiency in the discharge of its mandate of protecting lives and properties.”
Also speaking, the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, said the choice to host the first Renewed Hope Agenda Citizens Townhall Engagement in Lagos was based on the social, political and economic importance, hence the need to feel the purse of Lagosians on security in diverse ways.
Speaking during the event, some of the stakeholders commended Governor Sanwo-Olu’s giant strides in security and governance, particularly in community policing, describing him as a Champion of Community Policing.
They said the engagement on community policing was a step that would lead to a safer Nigeria, encourage increased collaboration and meaningful dialogue that will enhance the safety and security of lives and property.