…Young people at the centre of state’s security strategy
Lagos State Governor Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to focus on technology to combat crime in the state.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed this at the 13th Annual Town Hall Meeting on security, which was organised by the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), with the theme ‘Transformational Security’.
The town hall event is organised as a feedback mechanism where residents and other stakeholders in the security system meet to obtain a first-hand report on the state of security in Lagos, serving also as a forum for fundraising towards improving state security.
The Governor commended the efforts of the LSSTF in revitalising security coverage in the state through its consistent donations and innovative strategies employed to tackle security challenges.
He added that the state would continue to intensify efforts to check the menace of traffic robbery, cultism and other crimes in trouble spots across the state.
Sanwo-Olu noted that the LSSTF had provided integrated end-to-end security solutions to violent crimes through its innovative technology and digital connectivity.
He mentioned however that despite the introduction of new security strategies to combat crime, the system has a lot to improve on, calling for stronger connections between infrastructure and the state’s security apparatus.
The Governor revealed the plan of his administration to build a one-stop technology hub where data will be collated for efficiency in the handling of security matters.
“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,” he stated.
“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.
“We are revamping our Command and Control Centre. We are doing a complete overhaul of this centre.”
The Governor 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.
“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 centre of our security strategy,” he said.
“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 the support for law enforcement agents while they discharge their duties of safeguarding the state.
Sanwo-Olu promised to work with the LSSTF to upgrade infrastructure across the state, which he said would be achieved in the next few months with significant improvements on security.
“There is a need to redesign the security architecture of the state, using smart security devices to analyse crime,” he stated.
The government, he said, would build a rapid response security team, relying on new data and installed security cameras, with the various agencies trained to work together using advanced communication tools to curb crime.
Sanwo-Olu highlighted some of the projects his government has embarked on, including equipping security personnel, completing a police station at Ibeche equipped with first-class and modern facilities.
He explained his plan to collaborate with other southwest States to address cross border crime. The borders, he said, would be effectively patrolled.
Highlighting the life and death risks faced by security operatives everyday in the line of duty, the Governor gave the following accounts:
“Five days ago, a security personnel was involved in an accident and his legs were amputated.
“A sad incident also happened on Monday that claimed the life of LASTMA official, who was stoned with a heavy stone, this should be addressed. There would be stiffer punishment for offenders,” he noted.
On his part, LSSTF Executive Secretary Dr Abdurrazaq Balogun said the initiative has helped in no small measure to address the state’s peculiar security situation through the prompt provision of necessary professional and logistical support for the various security agencies in the state to operate seamlessly.
Being the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria and West Africa, Lagos has its peculiar security challenges, with its sheer human density driven by a rising population due and economic-driven migration, making the state naturally vulnerable to criminal activity.
”But the coming of the LSSTF really assisted in swiftly addressing some of the state’s most critical security concerns,” Balogun assured.
The Lagos State Government had established the LSSTF on September 3, 2007 as a public-private partnership framework for mobilising and providing equipment and resources for effective operations of security agencies in the state.
Balogun said the LSSTF was a practical response to the reality of the operational deficiency of the various security agencies within the state, particularly with regard to funding and provision of modern equipment.
“With the realisation that the huge demands of security can no longer be met by government alone, the LSSTF is primarily conceived to institutionalise an enduring public/private approach to security challenges in the state,” he explained.
“The law setting up the Trust Fund provides for the structure, funding, decision making and accountability procedures for the Trust Fund.
“The main goal of the Trust Fund is to provide money for the acquisition and deployment of security equipment and such human, material and financial resources as shall be found necessary for the effective functioning of all Federal, State, Local Government and other security agencies operating in the State and part of the Fund shall be reserved for the training and retraining of security personnel.”
With regular provision of training and critical security equipment such as surveillance helicopters, operational vehicles, motorbikes, arms and ammunition, patrol boats, Armoured Personnel Carriers among others crucial operational needs to relevant security agencies in the state, crime rate in the state been on the progressive decline in the last 12 years, Balogun said. He noted that a number of the more notorious areas in the state have become safer for citizens to carry out their lawful daily activities without fear.
The Chairman, LSSTF Board of Trustees, Mr Our Hassan-Odukale, noted that crime fighting is mandatory and the Fund will not stop promoting the fight against crime.
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 the LSSTF, but a recognition that our collective resolve to continue the fight against crime is an absolute necessity.”