11th August, 2011
The recent spate of robbery attacks in the Lagos metropolis has assumed a worrisome dimension. Since the change of baton between the former State Police Commissioner, Marvel Akpoyibo and his successor, Yakubu Alkali, after the April general elections, there has been a resurgence of violent armed robbery attacks across the state.
The latest incident occurred on Acme Road on Monday when a robber in police uniform shot dead Chun Yuen Mak Henry, an accountant with Western Metal Product Company, WEMPCO Plc based at Ogba, Lagos. The lone gunman operated on a motorcycle which perhaps made it easy for him to escape after collecting the unspecified amount of money the victim had withdrawn from a bank on Adeniji Jones.
What is very disturbing about the incident that happened in broad day light was that the gunman reportedly wore a MOPOL vest and a police cap. Besides, he also rode a motorcycle.
The following day, gunmen snatched a car belonging to Miss Nkarenyi Ukonu, a reporter with The Punch newspapers along Lateef Jakande Road. The incident happened at about 5.30 p.m during rush hour traffic. It shows that robbers are becoming brazen and daring in their operations.
Lagos has become increasingly unsafe after the general elections. A few weeks ago, four gunmen invaded the home of popular musician, Daddy Showkey in Ojodu. They killed his aide before successfully escaping. Who knows what would have happened if they had met Showkey at home, since they came for him, as the musician himself said in an interview after the incident.
If the authorities must take the issue of security of lives and property seriously, security personnel should be properly dressed so that members of the public can easily identify those who are genuine security personnel and those who are impostors or criminals like the gunman who killed the Chinese accountant. A situation where security personnel, especially the police, dress in plain clothes and carry guns all over the place calls for serious concern and reprimand by their bosses. How do members of the public distinguish between genuine policemen and robbers when cops dress in this manner and sometimes carry rifles?
Also, the use of motorcycle to rob has become very rampant in the metropolis and the government needs to act fast before the situation degenerates further. Although there is restriction on when commercial motorcyclists, also known as okada riders, can ply the roads, the restriction order has always been flouted with impunity. Government needs to deal with this issue that has become a very serious security challenge in the state. Government and stakeholders cannot be spending billions of naira on procuring security gadgets and patrol vehicles for the police only for criminals to make nonsense of it.
The state Police Commissioner, Yakubu Alkali must keep his men, the Area Commanders and the DPOs on their toes the way his predecessor, Marvel Akpoyibo did when he was in charge in Lagos.
Policing a state like Lagos with a population of about 18 million people is not a tea party. Alkali and his men must wake up to this reality and ensure there is peace and security in the state to justify the state governmentâ€™s huge spending on security.