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Lagos Unveils N7bn Security Plan to Boost Safety and Prosperity

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Lagos, the commercial hub of Nigeria, has announced a bold plan to enhance its security infrastructure with an N7 billion funding target for the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF). The fund, which is a public-private partnership initiative, provides critical support to security agencies operating in the state, such as the police, the military, and the neighborhood safety corps.

The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, unveiled the plan on Tuesday at the 17th annual Lagos town hall meeting on security, themed “Security complexities and convergence: The Lagos State imperatives”. He said the plan aims to improve the capabilities and welfare of the security personnel, as well as to foster a safer and more prosperous environment for residents and businesses.

According to the governor, the N7 billion funding target will be raised through a fundraising dinner scheduled for December 15, 2023, where corporate organizations and individuals are expected to make donations and pledges. He added that the state government has already secured N2 billion from some donors, and pledged to provide 300 vehicles to boost the logistics operations of the security agencies.

Sanwo-Olu also highlighted the state’s commitment to community policing strategies, which involve the collaboration of local stakeholders, traditional rulers, religious leaders, and civil society groups in ensuring the security of lives and property. He urged the citizens to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the relevant authorities.

“We recognize security as a multifaceted challenge. Today, we pledge our commitment to creating a safer community,” the governor said, noting that the state has made significant progress in curbing crime and violence in the past year.

The governor also revealed plans to establish the largest mental health rehabilitation center in the country, as part of the efforts to address the root causes of insecurity and social unrest. He said the center will cater to the needs of people suffering from mental disorders, drug addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among others.

The town hall meeting, which was attended by security chiefs, government officials, traditional rulers, and other stakeholders, also featured the presentation of the LSSTF audit report and the launch of the LSSTF website. The report showed that the fund received a total of N1.9 billion in donations and expended N1.7 billion on various security interventions in the 2022/2023 fiscal year.

The interventions included the provision of equipment, vehicles, ammunition, communication gadgets, and training for the security agencies, as well as the construction of a dedicated building for the LSSTF. The report also highlighted the challenges and recommendations for improving the security situation in the state.

The minister of State for Police Affairs, Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, who was the special guest of honor at the event, commended the LSSTF as a working model that could be replicated at the national level. She pledged the federal government’s support for enhancing the operational capacity of the Nigeria Police Force in Lagos and other states.

“We are committed to strengthening security in Lagos, the economic hub of Nigeria, fostering internal collaboration among all security agencies,” she said, adding that she would personally donate N1 million to the LSSTF.

The assistant inspector-general of Police for Zone 2, Ali Mohammed, also praised the LSSTF for its role in reinforcing security efforts in the state. He advocated for the use of technology, such as GIS systems and biometrics, to combat criminal activities like interstate robberies.

The acting commissioner of Police for Lagos State, Waheed Ayilara, reported some notable achievements made by the Lagos State Police Command in the past year. He said the command successfully foiled 172 out of 189 robbery incidents, arrested 175 cultists and 257 robbery suspects, and recovered several stolen vehicles and firearms.

He attributed the successes to the support of the LSSTF, the state government, and the private sector, as well as the cooperation of the citizens. He assured the public that the police would continue to work hard to ensure the safety and security of Lagos.

“Our efforts have paid off as Lagos State still retains the record for the longest number of years without a bank robbery,” he said. “Our security agencies have been able to keep home invasions at a minimum while seriously tackling cases of kidnapping and other emerging security matters.”

The town hall meeting ended with a vote of thanks from the executive secretary/CEO of the LSSTF, Dr. Abdurrazaq Balogun, who expressed appreciation to all the donors and partners of the fund. He also appealed to the public to support the fund’s vision of making Lagos the safest and most prosperous commercial location in Africa.

Source: Business Day

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