For many Lagos residents, traffic robbery is so regular that news of it barely registers on their radar.
This is a tragedy for the current and future victims, and it is a disgrace for the three tiers of government that are legally obligated to protect the lives and property of citizens, but who are blatantly failing in this regard. Nonetheless, as long as vehicular traffic is subject to gridlock and slow movement, commuters will continue to be at grave risk. Consequently, the state government must approach the problem from a variety of perspectives.
Without a doubt, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is constantly taking initiatives to address the issue of crime in the state. Several new vehicles and equipment have been added to the Lagos State Command, including 200 motorcycles, 150 double-cabin vehicles, 30 saloon patrol cars, thousands of gas canisters, and even five armored personnel carriers (APC). Almost every other state in the country is depleting its own resources in order to assist federal law enforcement.
When the convoy of Sanwo-Olu came into contact with several machete-wielding teenagers who were in the process of robbing a citizen who had been stranded in the city’s trademark traffic congestion, the incident made national headlines once more in Lagos. When the governor’s staff arrived on the scene, they were able to save the unfortunate man, and the miscreants were captured and are currently facing criminal charges. The governor, on the other hand, can not be available at all times to save fellow citizens from the grasp of criminals.
In the first instance, this is the responsibility of the Nigerian Police Force. A list of the nine-point responsibilities of the police force is set out in Part II (4) of the Police Act, 2020. “prevent and detect crimes and protect the rights and freedom of every person in Nigeria as provided by the Constitution, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and any other law;”‘maintain public safety, law and order;” ‘protect the lives and property of all persons in Nigeria,’ and so forth.
The Guardian had reason to express displeasure over how hoodlums, taking advantage of the insufferably slow moving vehicular traffic, openly attack and rob people at gunpoint, in broad daylight and unabated. In the period between March and June of this year, 127 suspects were apprehended, according to police statistics. In order for a city to achieve mega-status, it is necessary to reduce crime.
According to the Lagos State Command, tactics to combat not only traffic robbery but also other crimes, including cultism, kidnapping, and unlawful possession of weaponry, have been developed. According to the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, a tactical team has been formed to raid criminal hideouts where traffic robbers and other criminals congregate. Furthermore, the use of motorbikes allows the police to respond to crime scenes more quickly because they can travel faster between traffic and crime scenes.
While Lagosians wait patiently for favorable outcomes from these efforts, the government should recognize that all the equipment in the world will not cure criminality in a community where there are insufficient police officers to do the job properly. More than 200 million people live on a land mass of 924, 000 square kilometers, and Nigeria has fewer than 400, 000 full-time officers and men to keep order in a country with less than 400, 000 full-time officers and men. According to reports, the United Nations recommends one police officer for every 450 citizens. No wisdom of Solomon is required to recognize that the Nigeria Police Force is overworked and overstretched, and, as a result, is inefficient and unproductive. Simply put, the Federal Government should do what is necessary for the police, in accordance with international best practices, and in fulfillment of its party’s promise to “urgently address capacity building of law enforcement agents in terms of quantity and quality, as this is critical in safeguarding the sanctity of lives and property.”
For the second time, just as all politics is local, so is effective law enforcement essentially local as well. There has been so much stated in favor of a decentralized police force that it is impossible to make a convincing argument for the opposite. Many sorts and tiers of policing exist in the exact jurisdiction from which Nigeria adapted its constitutional democratic system of government, each with its own set of rights and authority. Even higher educational institutions have their own internal police force. Given the enormous failure of the federal government’s centrally administered law enforcement policy, the federal government should reconsider its steadfast adherence to it. A fundamentally defective centralised police structure can only be remedied by a fundamental redesign of the structure, which can only be accomplished by decentralisation.
It is undeniable that if Lagos State (and other states as well) were to divert the billions of naira it spends on the Federal Government-controlled police force to its own state police force, with personnel recruited from among the indigenes and residents of the state, they would be far more effective in combating criminality simply because they would be operating in familiar territory.
This remark once again emphasizes the importance of having a state police force. In its platform, the All Progressives Congress (APC) pledged to “launch widespread consultations to alter the Constitution in order to empower states and local governments to hire State and Community Police to serve the specific needs of each community.” It is only right and proper that this written pledge, which has been openly and publicly given, be carried out as soon as possible without further delay.
Fourth, traffic robberies, as well as many other sorts of urban crime, are disproportionately committed by young people. It is reasonable to attribute this to a combination of youth unemployment and restiveness. The simple solution to youth unemployment and restiveness rests on the obligation of the government to carry out its responsibilities to youths and all people, as stipulated by Section 14 (2) (b) of the Constitution of the United States.
The presence of obvious and present obstacles gives the impression that profound and comprehensive thinking has taken flight in this environment! However, the lads must be rescued from the abysmal situation in which they have found themselves through no fault of their own.
There is an urgent need for better, clearer, and broader thinking at all levels of government in order to handle the country’s most pressing problems of security and unemployment. The “primary objective of government,” as the saying goes, is to ensure the “security and welfare of the people. ” That is not only the law of the land, but it is also the moral responsibility of the government.