By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Monday lamented that the state, in recent times, has recorded a worrying trend in cases of kidnapping, armed robbery and cult clashes.
The governor spoke at a security stakeholders town hall meeting in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
According to Sanwo-Olu, as the economic and commercial hub of Nigeria, the security of Lagos could not be taken for granted.
He said Lagos State is not just home to the headquarters of the biggest companies in Nigeria, and to one of the largest stock exchanges in Africa, it is also the primary gateway for passengers and freight, in and out of Nigeria.
“As we speak there are several billions of dollars of investment ongoing in Lagos State, in real estate, transportation, manufacturing, services, agriculture, and several other areas.
“In recent times, we have recorded a worrying trend of nefarious activities in the State; from kidnappings, armed robbery, cult clashes and violent assaults,” he said.
The governor said the resultant effect of the EndSARS mayhem had contributed in no small way to the severely fragmented security architecture that “we have today. On our part in the State, we have risen up to the arduous challenge of arresting this general state of insecurity with all the resources we have at hand.
“Now why do I call this an arduous challenge? It is simply because we are constrained by the fact that security is not the exclusive preserve of state governments; the Nigeria Police Force and the Armed Forces are Federal Institutions, and we must therefore defer greatly to the Federal Government on issues of securing the state from both internal and external aggressive acts.”
On okada riders, Sanwo-Olu said the government had noted with dismay the fact that the riders were disregarding and flouting the restrictions imposed on their activities in certain areas of the metropolis.
“In this same vein, we have also observed with dismay the ongoing war between commercial motorcyclists and our law enforcement agencies. This propensity for lawlessness is not who we are as Lagosians.
“The Lagos State Road Traffic Law, enacted in 2012 to safeguard the lives of people and to maintain law and order on our roads,is the legal backbone for the restrictions put in place early last year and designed to curb the Okada menace in the State.
“As part of the restrictions put in place, we banned the activities of Okada and tricycle operators on key roads, highways and Local Government Areas. Sadly, many Okada and tricycle operators have continued to flagrantly disobey the law and, in some cases, resist enforcement by engaging in organised attacks on law enforcement agencies.
“We have also observed a worrying trend in which criminals have found commercial
motorcycles a useful and enabling tool with which to perpetrate heinous crimes, with the motorcycles acting as quick-getaway vehicles,” he lamented.
The governor said no society could make progress amid such haughty display of lawlessness and criminality.
Sanwo-Olu reiterated government’s commitment to the maintenance of law and order in the society.
“Consequently, and based on all that we have seen and experienced in the past couple of weeks, as well as the increasing threat posed by the activities of commercial motorcycle operators to the safety and security of lives, we will in the coming days be announcing further changes to the parameters of motorcycle and tricycle operations in the State.
“Still on the issue of transportation, permit me to espouse further on some of the major new initiatives being rolled out in the transportation sector in the coming days. We are excited to announce that next week, we will be launching what we term the “Last Mile Buses” that will ply inner roads and safely get commercial passengers to their final destinations.
“We envisage deploying over 500 of these buses to alleviate the pain associated with the restriction of motorcycle and tricycle operations. We also envisage that this initiative will also generate employment opportunities for Lagosians, including the commercial motorcyclist operators, who will be employed as operators of the Last Mile Buses,” he said.