Kazeem Ugodaga

Fatai Owoseni, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State

Fatai Owoseni, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State

Lagos State Police arrested 375 suspected armed robbers and killed 40 other robbers during gun battle in the nine months.

This was disclosed by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni at the 9th Town Hall Meeting on Security put together by the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) with the theme: “Refreshing Our Security Model,” on Tuesday in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

Owoseni decried that 220 cases of murder were recorded between January and November 2015 and a large number of the cases were occasioned by cult clashes and streets fights, adding that 27 of the cases were recorded in January while 15, representing the lowest, was recorded in March this year.

He said while 26 of the cases were recorded within Area C, Surulere, 25 others were recorded in Area N, Ijede in Ikorodu, among others.

The Police Commissioner also disclosed that 375 armed robbery suspects were arrested out of which 42 were traffic robbers between January and November, 2015, adding that 113 suspected cultists and seven impersonators were arrested with several equipment recovered, as well as items and cash worth N1.389 billion.

He said 25 cases of kidnapping were reported, while four cases of rape were reported, and 335 motor vehicles reported stolen within the period under review.

“125 armed robbery cases were prevented and 233 stolen vehicles were recovered. The police arrested 25 suspected kidnappers and rescued 24 kidnapped victims within the year under review,” he said.

During the clashes with armed robbery gangs, the commissioner said “40 suspected armed robbers died during confrontation with the Nigerian police, but did not mention the number of policemen killed during such confrontation.

He further disclosed that 335 vehicles were reportedly stolen between January and November, 2015, out of which 207 were removed from where they were parked by their owners, as 112 were snatched and 16 driven away by drivers of unsuspecting owners who employed them.

“41 cases of cult clashes occurred with Area C police command recording the highest with 8 cases followed by Area N; Ijede, A; Lion Building and H; Ogudu where 5 cases were recorded each. 44 cases of armed robbery attacks were reported during the period under review. Of this number, 11 cases were recorded within Idimu Police Area Command and 6 recorded in Ikeja axis of the state.

“24 traffic robbery cases were reported in the state, with 11 recorded in September. Four cases of rape/defilement were recorded within the period under review. “25 cases of kidnapping were recorded within the period under review. The breakdown showed that 6 kidnap cases were recorded in Ajah axis of the state, 5 in Ijede while four cases were recorded in FESTAC axis, he added.

The commissioner further said disclosed that10 suspected pipeline vandals were arrested and 7,500 liters of PMS, as well as a petrol tanker and a pumping machine, adding that two gun boats, two flying boats and two canoes were recovered from the vandals in the state.

According to him, 216 different model of guns, large quantity of charms, axes and others dangerous weapon were recovered from robbers in the state, adding that a gun fabricating machine was recovered.

In addition, he said the police recovered 1,555 different calibres of ammunition/cartridges and mobile phones, computer laptop and other valuables worth N1.4 billion.

Owoseni also said the police and other security agencies raided criminal hideouts in the state and arrested 5,721 suspected hoodlums, saying that 893 of them were released upon prove that they had credible means of livelihood.

“4,828 of this number were arraign before the magistrate courts in the state. Of the total number arraigned, 2, 675 were convicted while 1,840 have their cases still pending at the courts. However, 86 of the suspects were remanded. 4, 789 commercial motorcycle popularly called Okada were impounded for operating on the over 400 prohibited roads in the state,” he disclosed.

Speaking at the event, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode assured Lagosians of his determination to judiciously utilize the resources garnered from the people for the overall well-being of the State, just as he restated his commitment to ensure the security and safety of lives and property as well as sustain a friendly investment climate.

He said his commitment to the safety of the people is crystal clear and non-negotiable, saying that the town hall meeting was put together as part of efforts to continually create a platform for generation of ideas and solutions to confront security challenges facing the State, and to reassure the security agencies of the commitment of government to ensure their success.

Explaining that the N4.8 billion recently used to equip the police came from the tax payers, Ambode said that under his administration, tax payers’ money would be accounted for and utilised to improve the lot of those who have chosen the state as home.

Ambode said if one million people could contribute as low as N1000 each to the Fund, such would go a long way in providing modern gadgets to the security agencies, urging the people to donate generously.

Earlier while inaugurating the board of LSSTF, Ambode said his administration would continue to make Lagos safe and secure for law abiding citizens.

The Governor assured that he would not relent in efforts to properly and adequately equip security agencies in the State to confront security challenges, and vowed to always support the board of the LSSTF to succeed.

While recalling that the members of the board were selected based on their passion, track records of service, accountability, transparency and dedication, Governor Ambode said he had no doubt that the new board would hit the ground running, given the strong foundation that was laid by the previous board.

He, however, charged members of the new board to bring to bear, their wide experience both in public and private sector to deepen the goodwill which the Fund has enjoyed over the years.

Ambode, who said that security requires serious investment in technology, charged the board to expand the reach of the Fund and work to get more private sector support, adding that there was the need for the board to constantly engage the private sector and enlighten them on the need to be part of the collective effort to strengthen the security infrastructure of the State.

Chairman of the LSSTF board, Oye Hassan-Odukale, who noted that the contributions from donors had sustained the Fund in the last nine years, lamented that the years of under resourcing the Nigerian Police and other security agencies by successive administrations at the centre have left a huge deficit that would require a yearly injection of at least N1 trillion for the next thirty years by the Federal Government.

He, therefore, urged everyone to pull resources together to create the safety net desired for the citizens, businesses, property and most importantly, the children, adding that the people must make sacrifices for the common good of all.

Executive Secretary of the LSSTF, Dr. Abdurrazaq Balogun said in spite of the security challenges facing Lagos, the Fund had served as vehicle to institutionalise private-public partnership on security.