Lagos To Reposition Neighbourhood Watch

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The Lagos State government is currently moving to reposition its grassroots security outfit, Neighbourhood Watch, NW, for effective performance in policing the communities.

Commissioner for Rural Development, Cornelius Ojelabi disclosed this on Tuesday at the opening ceremony of a one-week training programme for 500 NW officers at the NYSC Orientation Camp, Iyana Ipaja in Lagos, southwest Nigeria.

Ojelabi disclosed that the ministry was already working with the State House of Assembly to amend the law establishing NW in the state, adding that, henceforth, only young, agile and able men and women that are able to read and write would be engaged as active watchers.

The commissioner said the move was to strengthen the NW officers and make them more proactive in their job of community policing.

He also disclosed that the ministry was partnering with local government chairmen on the issue of improved allowance for NW officers, adding that very soon, an acceptable consensus would be reached as to a standard allowance for the officers throughout the state.

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Ojelabi further said that the governor had approved that more communication gadgets be provided for the officers this year as more repeater/base stations would also be provided.

“With the epileptic power supply in the country, more generating sets will also be provided for our base stations to guarantee 24 hours communication with other security agencies. However, due to the sensitivity of the base/repeater stations, the ministry is already reviewing the allowance of watchers manning them upward to boost their morale and very soon, they will be placed on special allowance,” he said.

He added that the government was on the verge of procuring 11 patrol vehicles and 90 motorcycles to enhance their performance in their operational affairs. Ojelabi warned that it would no longer be business as usual as NW officers found wanting in the performance of their duty or not medically fit would be thrown out.

He stated that at the end of the training, those found suitable would be given walkie-talkies for effective all round communication with other security agencies, while some basic tools like baton and handcuffs would be provided to enhance their performance.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga