Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, on Thursday, advised residents of Lagos to support the state government on the ban on motorcycles (Okada) and tricycles in the state. Fashola gave the advice in Lagos at the 4th annual public lecture organised by United Action for Change with the theme “Security of Citizens as a Social Contract’’.
The event was convened by Dr Muize Banire, former National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a three-term commissioner in Lagos. He said the ban was backed by legislation and Lagos residents should look beyond the immediate comfort provided by the commercial motorcycle operators to the long term benefits of safety. He called for the reintroduction of taxis as a viable means of transportation befitting a mega city like Lagos alongside other intermodal means of transportation being evolved by the state government.
“I think that we should all rally round government, commit government to ensuring that those services are completed and put in use. “And we must not, whilst sympathetic to those who may legitimately have concerns about discomfort, livelihood, and all of those kinds of things, dismiss an existential threat to internal security,’’ he said.
Speaking on the topic, “Insecurity: Taking Action Against Organised Crime“, Fashola stressed the need to close all vacuums that allowed criminals safe haven to breed within communities. He called for policing of open spaces and empty houses nationwide to tackle various kinds of crimes and criminality which, according to him, is the conduct of a few people who are giving government stress. Fashola also called for ban on vehicles without registration numbers to remove identity concealment, adding that, all political office holders should use number plates no matter the time of the day or season. He called on attorney generals and ministries of physical planning and urban development to ensure open spaces and empty buildings used for criminal operations were put to use. “In all public buildings, people should not be able to hide. If you go to other jurisdictions, people do compulsory identity verification when checking into a hotel.
“There should be cameras in government and public buildings. It must become compulsory by law to install cameras. Lawmakers, Attorney General should make laws to keep us safe. “Organised crime looks for unmanned spaces. We must occupy those spaces, if not, criminals will occupy them,’’ he said.
Reeling out statistics from various developed countries, Fashola said that insecurity was not only a Nigerian problem but a global phenomenon, arguing that the way it was tackled mattered. He said that measures against crime and criminality, whether proactive or reactive, needed the support of citizens who had a constitutional responsibility to volunteer information to law enforcement agencies. He added that all forms of crime, including kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, robbery and cultism were not accidental but were usually planned hence the need to adopt new strategies.
The minister, however, stressed the need for peaceful co-existence and remove all sources of conflict to address all security challenges, adding that opinion leaders and influencers could help cultivate harmonious living. Fashola also called for the resuscitation of residents and landlords associations and multilevel policing to help identify strangers and curb rising wave of insurgency, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other crimes.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by Mr Shina Thorpes, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Information, told journalists that the state government was proactive in gathering data of residents. Sanwo-Olu said the government began residents registration to know true identity of residents and to be able to plan for their welfare. “The beauty of identification is that it helps government to plan and also helps the community to know one another,’’ he said. [NAN]
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