21st December, 2010
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fasho la (SAN), Monday, took his campaign for the creation of state police a step further as he called on the NationalÂ Assembly to use the opportunity of the current constitutional amendment to legitimize the operation of state police in the country.
Governor Fashola, who spoke at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja while receiving the new Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Zone 2, Mr. SuleimanÂ Fakai, said all the fears and anxieties being expressed about state police meant nothing if peopleâ€™s lives were wantonly taken daily and state governors wereÂ powerless to do anything to curb it.
â€œThe biggest return on investment that our democracy can give now is for the National Assembly to use the opportunity of the current constitutional amendmentÂ to give something back to the Nigerian people; something very important â€“ security,â€ the Governor said.
Asserting that state police is the answer to violent crime in the country, Governor Fashola declared, â€œI think now is the time to stop playing games, theÂ time to stop presenting untenable arguments, to stop presenting arguments whose foundation is based on probabilities as the only reason why we are not readyÂ to try a new thing; that time is past.Â â€œDemocracy means nothing if people are being kidnapped on a daily basis and the state governor can do no more thanÂ say â€˜yes, I am the Chief Security Officer of the State.â€™ There must be some practical solutions to this,â€ the Governor said arguing further that if theÂ states could be involved in managing the economy, education and traffic and participate in power supply, there was no reason they could not participate inÂ managing the police.
â€œI want to be further educated and I am looking for a superior argument. If we have done the same thing for 50 years and it does not work, we must findÂ courage to try something new. If it does not work, then we go back to the drawing board,â€ he stated.
Governor Fashola warned that the solution to violent crime in the country would remain elusive if â€œwe remain in the same place, doing the same thing andÂ expecting different result,â€ adding: â€œIt wonâ€™t work.â€
The Governor, who said he is never afraid to engage a new idea, said the success story of crime reduction in Lagos State is founded on the experimentationÂ with community policing, adding: â€œIf we were afraid to engage in new ideas, Lagos would not have a BRT. It was new; people resisted it, they said it wouldÂ not work. Today, it is a success story.
â€œI think if the leadership of this country, especially our brothers and sisters in the National Assembly, find the courage to engage this new idea, it isÂ eminently compatible with our Federal arrangement. It does not mean that the Federal Police will cease to operate. We can limit the authority of the stateÂ police if that is a workable compromise to start with. But I think the time is now,â€ Governor Fashola further said.Â He said the Stateâ€™s Security Trust FundÂ model on which the success of crime reduction in the state is founded has grown from strength to strength because it was not built around persons but â€œhasÂ evolved as an institution that prides itself in teamwork, in its inter-dependence on each otherâ€™s strength because the more good persons who join us, theÂ stronger the institution becomes.
â€œBy tapping from their experiences from other places, their resourcefulness and their individual skills, we have grown the institution to the level you areÂ seeing today,â€ the Governor said.
Pledging the support of his administration to the new AIG in his assignment in the Zone, Governor Fashola urged: â€œWe hope that you will contribute your veryÂ wide and vast experience, your knowledge of other places and other practices to add fillip to what the Trust Fund has achieved,â€ adding that whether it isÂ called community policing or state police, the model is the best to deal with the problem of crime.
â€œWhat it does is that it helps the local people to participate in the policing of their community. It flows from a very simple truism that you cannot know myÂ home better than me; and, therefore, the power of crime detection relies on the local network of information availability and experience has shown that theÂ first reaction of people to strangers is suspicion. People will readily give information to a policeman they know is one of them than one who has just comeÂ into the territory,â€ the Governor said.
Earlier in his remarks, the new AIG, Sulaiman Fakai, commended the governor for his holistic approach to security through tackling all the conditions thatÂ precipitate crime such as unemployment and poverty as well as non-availability of basic infrastructure.
AIG Fakai said: â€œWe are pursuing the issue of community policing very seriously because we see it as the best strategy for control of crime and happily YourÂ Excellency, from the way you approach security in this State, I am very sure you are an advocate of this philosophy.â€
â€œYou have actually addressed the issue of security in this state and I am personally a student of your approach to security because I have found out that youÂ know that crime is a social problem and you have addressed it from all angles,â€ the AIG said.