27th September, 2010
The reason why officials of the Neighbourhood Watch in Lagos State cannot be armed withÂ weapons in the discharge of their duties was recently revealed by the state CommissionerÂ for Rural Development, Prince Lanre Balogun.
According to the Commissioner, it would require the approval of the National Assembly toÂ enable the officials of the paramilitary organisation to use guns.
Prince Balogun, who made this known at the decoration ceremony of former Deputy GovernorÂ of the state, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, former Secretary to the State Government (SSG),Â Asiwaju Ruben Olorufumi Bashorun and a Director of Civil Engineering in the Ministry ofÂ Rural Development, Engineer Rasheed Akintola, by the Neighbourhood Watch, also maintainedÂ that the organisation was not created to use arms in the discharge of their duties sinceÂ they operate at the community level and are supposed to assist law enforcement agents.
Said the Commissioner: â€œI believe so strongly that we donâ€™t have to get to the area ofÂ defence, that is like curing a disease, but we need to do prevention which is better thanÂ cure and thatâ€™s what they are doing but you probably wouldnâ€™t know it because you haveÂ never been attacked.â€
Also, Special Adviser to the Governor On Rural Development, Mr. Paul Kalejaiye, whileÂ explaining the reason for theÂ establishment of paramilitary organisation, said it wasÂ meant to deter people from criminality,Â sensitize theÂ peopleÂ in the rural community to beÂ security conscious and also teach them basic surveillance method.
â€œIn our effort to ensureÂ that whatever we do in Lagos we do with a sense of perfection,Â we have realised that we have a neighbourhood corps and that is an all embracing thingÂ but we haveÂ introduced another innovation to ensure that we decorate well-meaningÂ Nigerians as corps marshals.â€
Responding on behalf of other recipients, Prince Ogunleye, who commended the corps,Â complained that though crime was on the decrease in the state, it is high within theÂ Ikorodu axis of the state.Â â€œThis is a great responsibility vested on us and we will doÂ our best to make sure that the corps moves on progressively,â€ he added.