By Benjamin Omoike
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday restated his administration’s commitment to adopt technology in the fight against crime in the State, saying there was need for a complete overhaul of the State’s security architecture.
The Governor revealed this at the 13th Annual Town Hall Meeting on security, which was organised by the Lagos State Security Trust Fund, themed: ‘Transformational Security’.
The town hall event is organized as a feedback mechanism where residents and other stakeholders in the security framework converge to get a first-hand report on the state of security as well as a forum for fundraising towards improving the security situation in Lagos State.
At the event, which was held at the Civic Centre on Victoria Island, Sanwo-Olu said the overhaul was necessary to develop new capability in security operations, which, he said, would be driven by technology. The overall goal, he stressed, is to enable the State Government secure residents’ lives and their property in line with modern policing technique.
The Governor said the Smart City project of the State required deployment of modern technology to combat crimes, pointing out that the current architecture could not be sustained in the face sophisticated method used by criminals.
He said: “Security in modern times has come to a level where technology needs to play an important role. There is need to boost intelligence through modern techniques to prevent crimes before they occur.
“The Government, through LSSTF, is going to redesign the security operations in line with our Smart City project, which will launch our capability to the next level. We will be using technology as a strong enabler to ensure that Lagos remain safe, responsive in securing lives and businesses.
“We are rejigging and retooling our Command Control Centre. We will be building new Data Room and installing thousands of interconnected cameras. All of these will be used by the police and other enforcement agents to analyse crimes and security incidents.”
The Governor said the State cabinet had already deliberated on the new policing model, declaring that procurement would be made in the New Year to start the implementation.
Sanwo-Olu noted that Government’s primary responsibility is to provide security to all citizens, but he added that Lagos Government’s partnership with private and corporate citizens through LSSTF was to leverage collaboration in achieving improved security.
Describing policing profession as “a difficult job”, the Governor said the public must always support law enforcement agents who, he said, endangered their lives to secure the society.
Sanwo-Olu announced that 1,000 policemen would be deployed to work in complementary role with men of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to ensure hitch-free Yuletide.
He also said there would be strict enforcement of the laws restricting commercial motorcycles, known as Okada, in the coming days, noting that offenders would now be arrested on all the 479 routes the Government had restricted commercial motorcycles.
Speaking on new role for the Security Fund, Governor Sanwo-Olu revealed the State Government’s plan to build a one-stop technology hub where data will be collated for efficiency in the handling of security issues.
“The Trust Fund will be taking a higher responsibility and new initiatives will take place. We are going to build a smart city project. We will use technology to ensure that the State remains safe. We will build data rooms and install lots of security cameras across the State.
“Other security apparatus will be complementing the work of the police. Lagos State is working with other neighbouring states.
“In partnership with all the States in South Western region, a regional security outfit code-named ‘Amotekun’, has been established to combat banditry and kidnapping. This group will work interstate and all modern gadgets and facilities will be provided. It will make it impossible for anyone to abscond to the neighboring state after an offense in one State.
He added: “We are revamping our Command and Control Centre. We are doing a complete overhaul of this centre.”
The Governor further said that focus has been placed on the youth of the State to ensure that they are placed in a position where they will voluntarily shun cultism.
He said: “Very importantly, we are fully aware of the nexus between young people and security, and therefore very much focused on putting young people at the center of our security strategy.
“To this end, we are engaging youths and educational institutions, right from primary school level, in order to empower them to shun cultism and criminality, and to help them build skills to be active and responsible citizens.”
He called for support for law enforcement agents while they discharge their duties of safeguarding the State.
Lagos Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, gave a breakdown of the security breakthrough recorded by the State Police Command in the last one year, revealing that crime rate had reduced drastically.
He said police foiled 257 incidents of armed robbery across the State, with 295 robbers arrested and 141 armed recovered.
He said: “In line with the directive of the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, Lagos Police Command launched the special operation code named ‘Puff Adder’. This operation, after confronting and subduing heinous crimes, redirected its energy at ending cultism and gangsterism in Lagos. This has successfully led to the arrest of 307 cultists. They have all been charged to Court after investigation.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees, LSSTF, Mr. Our Hassan-Odukale, noted that crime fighting is mandatory and the Fund will not stop promoting the fight against crimes.
He said: ”The theme of today’s event is, “Transformational Security” which means that at the Fund, we are reviewing our response to security challenges in furtherance of our goal.
“After 12 years, our Trust Fund is still very relevant as we continue to provide critical support for the Police and other security agencies. This is because our esteemed donors have continued to contribute to the Fund. This continuous support is not only a vote of confidence in LSSTF, but a recognition that our collective resolve to continue the fight against crime is an absolute necessity.”
The event was also graced by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, representatives of private sector organisations, and philanthropists.