Of Lagos, FG and security initiatives

June 17, 2021
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THE high rate of insecurity in Nigeria is one which is no doubt clearly visible even to the blind. Without sounding unnecessarily alarming, we can say that even the deaf would hear in resounding tunes, the unending wailing of the victims of insecurity. Kidnappers, bandits and terrorists of various persuasions have made the country almost ungovernable. Right from the seat of power across the various states of the Nigerian federation,  an air of unease transverses everywhere. We have a situation where, as the elders will say, “rats have failed to speak in the language of rats, birds have failed to speak in the language of birds, and humans have failed to speak in human voices.” In the history of the nation as a sovereign state, the national security architecture has never been this embarrassed. From kidnappings to killings, amongst other vices, which have instilled fear into the minds of the populace, the nation has grappled with vast, and sadly unending, security challenges.

The futile and rather vain efforts of the Federal Government has led many to fashion ways through which they can keep themselves and their loved ones safe. However, in the midst of all these efforts, insecurity has continued to prevail as it is fast becoming a million dollar industry. This is something beyond the grapevine: kidnappers and bandits rake in millions from their victims and governments. Only this week, reports surfaced that terrorists in Zamfara State were demanding N12m from communities in the state before they could be allowed to farm. While the Presidency has failed to provide a lasting solution to curbing this menace, and in the absence of the anticipated law from the National Assembly approving the creation of state police, elected chief executives of states must of necessity brace up and rise to the occasion and defend and protect their citizens.

This becomes more realistic against the back drop of the cynical statement made by President Muhammadu Buhari during his recent interview on ARISE TV, when he admonished the state governors, being the elected trustees and chief executives of their states, to take responsibility for the security of lives and properties of their people. The statement, as a matter of fact, now gives some veiled directives to our respective states regarding what to do, other than waiting on the Federal Government  to always come to their aid.

While we must acknowledge the limitations imposed on the governors as a result of the failure of our system to create state police, which would have empowered them to function as the chief executives of their states, we must emphasize that governors need not despair or throw their arms in the air as helpless administrators. It is the hope and aspiration of many that these governors will go back to their driving seats and  frontally confront insecurity in their states. It is in this regard that the sense of responsibility, leadership and foresight shown by Governor Babajide Sanwoolu of Lagos needs to be highly commended and publicly applauded and appreciated. Governor Sanwo-Olu proactively blazed the trail when last week he announced steps his government had taken by procuring several items to boost the arsenal of offence and rejig the security apparatus of the state. Governo Sanwo-olu  purchased and donated 150 vehicles, four high capacity troop carriers, 30 patrol cars and two anti riots water cannon carriers for the use of the police as part of efforts to strengthen security responses across the state.

The equipment and gadgets were procured through the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), an autonomous agency that partners the private sector and individuals to provide vital support to security agencies. President Muhammadu Buhari, speaking during the donation of the equipment to the police, said it would go a long way in boosting the morale of the police, and enhance their capacity to fight crime and combat criminality. Sanwo-Olu, on his part, said the investment in the security gadgets was timely, given the setback recorded in security operations occasioned by the coordinated violence that followed the #EndSARS protests, last October. His words:  “We will continue to boldly proclaim, not on our watch! We are determined to stabilise. Considering the status of Lagos State as the economic capital of the nation, it is important that Lagos be kept safe by all means possible in order not to cripple our national economy.”

It is heartwarming and reassuring that the man saddled with that responsibility fully understands the burden he carries and clearly demonstrate unquestionable character, strength and capacity to discharge these awesome duties. We must therefore give kudos to Governor Sanwo-Olu for doing the needful to secure Lagos State. Other governors across the 36 states of Nigeria must ensure that they borrow a leaf from Governor Sanwo-Olu in curbing the growing  menace of insecurity in their respective states. To say the very least, manna will not come from heaven. It is obvious that the Federal Government is overwhelmed with growing cases of insecurity across Nigeria, hence the need for states to  stand up for themselves. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is already showing the way, blazing the Trail. He is worthy of our accolades and unreserved commendations.

  • Adeniyi writes in from Lagos.

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