By Dr Yemi Omodele

It’s no longer news that every Nigerian has one or more relations residing in Lagos State either on a private business or being employed. Virtually all countries of the world also have their citizens in Lagos based on international relations, naturalization, tourism, expatriate and/or employment purposes.

Lagos State is a former Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria and a city where the Federal Government generates lots of revenues, so the security of the state is important to both the federal and the state governments.

Since the issue of terrorism started in Nigeria, Lagos has not experienced it, save for a kidnapping incident that occurred some years ago and the government then took drastic steps to immediately curtail it.

Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu inherited the tranquillity of the state from past administrations though he took drastic steps in sending COVID-19 parking during its outbreak. He also did his best during the ENDSARS protest to ensure peace returned to the state.

However, events around us recently have shown that Mr Governor and his lieutenants have all gone to sleep in terms of the security network in the state. Aside from that, the traffic robbers have again started disposing innocent residents of their valuables on the highways, and police officers have also turned the roads into extortion haven, just as underaged children, particularly from the North, have turned the roads into beggars’ market, and vehicle inspection officers have incessantly continued to tax motorists, among other vices in the state.

It has also been reported in some online media that some criminal elements are planning to invade some South Western states and that Lagos State is one of the states.

This is taken, serious sir!

So, a peaceful community in Ondo State was attacked recently and the people of the area have not recovered from the shock.

The election is fast approaching in the country, and politicians are obviously trying to impress the people to enable them win at all costs. They are also looking for votes in all nooks and crannies of the country not bothered by the security of the land. This is callous.

Findings in Lagos State revealed that Maryland, Bank Anthony Road to Ikeja has been taken over by beggars, who are clearly not Nigerians, begging for money and using that opportunity to rob innocent commuters and motorists in the traffic during the day and at night. 

This is as criminal and fraudulent police officers, who claimed to be working with the State Task Force have also taken over Gbagada, Iyana-Owoshoki, Oshodi, Costain, Apongbon, Ijora, Mile 2, Mile 12, Oba Akran, Ashade, Mangoro, Airport, Igbo-Elenin, and Okokomaiko Express Roads, among others, under the pretext of enforcement of law and order to extort people. 

They are always on black-colour motorbikes and at times, hide in a yellow commercial bus, looking for a lone motorist to arrest and intimidate to collect money from him or her. Poor and stupid police officers. They arrest motorists and take them to a different location to collect money from them.

The policemen at Apongbon, Ijora, Stadium and Costain do fraudulently arrest and taken their victims under the bridge at National Stadium to harass and extort them, if they do not want their cars taken to Oshodi Task Force Office. 

The ones at Gbagada, Iyana Oworo do take their victims along Alapere Express to collect money from them before telling them to turn at the old tollgate and proceed on their journey.

There is the Child Rights Law, 2015 in Lagos State empowering the government to do what is necessary by protecting the children from abuse. Mr Governor looks at this to address the series of attacks along Maryland/ Bank Anthony Way Ikeja and other parts of the state, where children are being used to beg along the roads and innocent persons are being robbed of their personal effects. Children are being used as preys by robbers and/or criminals.

There is no law empowering policemen to collect bribes in this state. The duty of policemen on highway is to correct motorists, who make mistakes while driving and not to use it as a means of enriching themselves.

The fact that an election is coming should not be a condition to abandon your duties and responsibilities to the state. Do not allow criminals to take over the state. Call the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State; CP Airport; CP Railway; CP SFU and the AIG Zone II to order their officers and men to stop embarrassing motorists on the road with unscrupulous offences. The security network in the state needed to be strengthened to avoid any form of attack.

  • Dr Yemi Omodele is an activist and human rights lawyer•

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