By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has charged security agencies and stakeholders to put all hands on desk to nip the security challenges threatening peace of the state in the bud.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, speaking on Monday at a meeting of state stakeholders on security, reeled out a series of measures being put in place to check insecurity across the state.
Part of the measure includes plans to eradicate commercial motorcycles and tricycles in the state, demolition of shanties, forfeiture of abandoned buildings and vehicles by their owners.
The governor read out his action plan on crime after the stakeholders identified various potential security threat in Lagos, and moved against operation of commercial motorcycles popularly known as Okada.
In his address, Governor Sanwo-Olu noted the dangers that motorcycle riders pose on the roads and security effort in the state.
The governor said it has become imperative for the mode of transportation to be phased out with a new transport system set to be launched in the state.
He also noted that shanties and uncompleted buildings, vehicles harboring unregistered occupants is a security threat, promising to clamp down on such abandoned sites across the state.
Commissioner of Police Hakeem Odumosu, in his opening remarks at the meeting, said security agencies in the state were on top of threats by Oodua Republic and the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) agitators to disrupt law and order, and attack soft targets, respectively.
‘The command has taken notice of agitators for Oodua Republic by some Yoruba separatist groups and the threats to disrupt law and order in the state. Twenty four of these groups have been identified and being closely monitored,’ Odumosu said.
‘Similarly, the threat of IPOB to attack soft targets in Lagos is equally being put on the radar of the command intelligence gathering and other security services in the state. Strategies are being put in place to neutralise their activities.
‘The command is using this medium to solicit for the support of all and sundry to be vigilant at all times and report any suspicious person or movement to security agencies. Let us adopt the slogan of “when you see something, say something.”’
He said intelligence reports available to the Command revealed that criminals use uncompleted, abandoned buildings, empty lands and hotels to plan and execute their missions.
He said abandoned vehicles were also used by these elements to hide firearms, urging the government to take immediate action towards possessing such properties for better security.
The Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Shotobi, emphasised the banning of Okada activities if the war against insecurity must be won.
‘Now is the time to ban the activities of okada riders. I have often told the governor that the right time might not come if we keep waiting for alternatives which might take forever; now is the time to stop the menace of okada riders who are very lawless.’
Lagos Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Stephen Adegbite, who corroborated Shotobi, said okada and Keke Napep should not be part of the megacity.
According to him, the activities of transport unions must also be checked if the state must secure residents and property.
The cleric also admonished those agitating for secession to desist from such, saying the solution to Nigeria’s problems were honesty, discipline, sincerity and hard work.
‘Okada and Keke Napep should be banned; they cannot be part of the megacity. I also call on those agitating for secession to desist as Nigeria remains better together. The solutions to our problems are not to break away, but honesty hard work, sincerity, discipline. Nigerians should do away with lawlessness and obey rules and regulations which are made to ensure our safety,’ he said.
Other panelists also advocated a ban on the activities of okada riders.
Among the resolution reached at the meeting are that the continued industrial action by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) was affecting the adjudication of criminal justice in the State; religious intolerance and inter/intra Union fracas were also identified as contributory factors to insecurity in Lagos State.
Additionally, the issue of deficit of trust between citizens and law enforcement agencies was identified as a bane of effective security in the state.