INTERNAL SECURITY; IS LAGOS GETTING IT RIGHT?
The volatility of Lagos state requires modern security attention and until all stakeholders in Nigeria project are acclimatize with the happenings in the commercial hub of Africa, the former capital city may be sitting on a gun powder even when security institutions in the state brace up to the challenges. SECURITY MONITOR’s Wale Abideen, Shola Akinyele and Biodun Lawal in this investigation reecho the need for more concerted efforts.
IT was an effort that yielded immediate result, the procurement of three helicopters by the Lagos state government when the announcement was made that the crash Bristow Helicopters have been found by the Rescue Team of Rapid Response Squad, RRS. Indeed, the efficacy of the three helicopters purchased by the present administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode aided the rescue mission of the crashed helicopter with registration number N5BQJ belonging to Bristow Group, which crashed while heading to Lagos from Port Harcourt.
The RRS helicopters are part of the security equipments purchased at a cost of N4.7billion by the Governor Ambode administration with the aim of beefing up security as well as aid in emergency rescue operations.
Commander of the RRS, Olatunji Disu, said that immediately the command was alerted of the crash on Wednesday morning, the three helicopters were immediately deployed to commence a search for its possible location.
“We knew they just took off at the airport. Everybody thought the helicopter crashed in their air field. But we immediately deployed the three RRS helicopters into the air and started the search. After some time the crashed helicopter was located 68 nautical miles out of Lagos on the ocean and we were able to communicate with the company”.
He said Shell, Agip and Mobil oil companies provided speed boats, while the RRS Marine Boat was also deployed to join the search and rescue operations.
“LASEMA, Airport Police and others and the Fire Service were at the airport waiting, because they had thought that the crash occurred at the airport, but the RRS helicopters acting on information hovered around the air until the location of the crash was identified in the ocean”, Disu said.
He said all the 11 persons on board the crashed helicopter; nine passengers and the two crew members were rescued alive. He attributed it to the adherence of safety measures by the passengers and the timely intervention of rescue operations.
“The joint effort of the rescue team spearheaded by the RRS in collaboration with Shell, Agip and Mobil oil companies went a long way to save the lives of those on board. Only the pilot sustained injuries”, he said.
Since the handing over of the equipment in November last year, the RRS helicopters have been deployed to various crime and traffic scene, which has aided in effective surveillance and aerial patrol in the densely populated city of Lagos.
Governor Ambode’s recent security gadgets procurement included three patrol helicopters, two patrol gunboats, 15 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC), 100 four-door saloon cars, 55 Ford Rangers pickups, 10 Toyota Land Cruiser pickups and15 BMW power bikes.
Others are Isuzu trucks, 100 patrol motorcycles, revolving lights, siren and public address system, vehicular radio communications, bulletproof vests, helmets, handcuffs, uniform kits and improved insurance and death benefits scheme for the officers.
As lofty as this gadgets are and while it is recorded as a giant stride on the part of the state government for trailing the blaze among league of state government in Nigeria the menace of gangsters, street robbers, urban cultists and ticket touts constitute more and dangerous threats to the core value of a meaningful governments. Everyday, urban unrest occasioned by the activities of the gangsters deplete the tube of peace the gadgets would have provided.
Aransiola Lajorin, 58, a trader and resident of Mushin told SECURITY MONITOR that he sleeps with one eye closed everyday as it has become a recurrence tragedy for “young guys brandishing dangerous weapon to create tension, maim and kill innocent citizens without being arrested by security agencies.
Olaniran Olaolu, human right activist told our correspondent that the public unrest occasioned by the “jobless youth” needs an urgent attention” Olaniran said that the call for special budget for the maintenance of internal security in Lagos is a battle that must be fought and won by the incumbent governor. The young lawyer describes Lagos as a mini Nigeria, stressing that all other tribes of the federation lives in Lagos city in large numbers.
While many applauded the state government for this laudable achievement others described the newly procured gadgets as the a security measure to protect the rich and mighty. Some residents of the state however call on the government to find lasting solution to the menace of road congestion, petty thieves, ticket touts and traffic robbery. This according to them is the real security improvement the state is yearning for.