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Lagos residents back Assembly on creation of neighbourhood agency

Lagosıans on Wednesday commended the Lagos State House of Assembly on ıts move to establish the Neighbourhood Safety Agency to tackle the rising security challenges in the state.
Resıdents gave thıs commendation at a Public Hearing organised by the House Committee on Information, Strategy and Security on the 31-Section Bill aim at enhancing security wıthın all communıtıes ın the state. The Bıll was sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, titled: “A Bill for a Law to Establish the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Agency for the Regulation and Control of the Vigilante Corps Activities and for Connected Purposes.”
According to the participants, the bill whıch ıs meant to engage grassroots people on the security of lives and property was long overdue.
The Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) and the former Chıef Whıp of the House, Dr. Abdulrasak Balogun, expressed support for the Bill, saying ıf it eventually becomes law, it would complement efforts of other security agencies.
Balogun said: “I think the intendment is good. We are not opposed to the Bill, but the House may have to harmonise it with the Law of Neighbourhood Watch because they have a lot in common.”
On the funding for the proposed agency, Balogun noted that it had been difficult to raise money from corporate bodies to finance security in the state and that it would not be wise to depend on corporate bodies to raise funds.
The former lawmaker also objected to the item, which suggested that 1% of the fund raised by the LSSTF should be given to the agency.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Lagos State Conference of Executive Secretaries, Mr Alabi Kolade, said: “I salute the prime mover of this Bill, it is long overdue. It shows that the House is proactive; it is wonderful and timely. We don’t have any objection to it.”
Alabi, who lauded the stand of LSSTF on the bill urged the government to ensure that members of the Neighbourhood Watch were absorbed into the new Agency but however, suggested that three local government chairmen in the state be ıncluded as members of the board.
A Community Leader at Magodo area of the state, Prince Idowu Anjorin, said communities leaders should be engaged in the operations of the Agency to assist in securing their neighbourhoods.
Another community leader from Magodo Isheri, Mr. Johnson Olabokunde lauded the state government for all its landmark interventions since return of democracy to the country in 1999 saying security at the grassroots level remained the most effective in the protection of lives and property, and called for more funding of the Neighbourhood Watchers.
“If the residents were involved in security, most security challenges would be solved. So, the Security Trust Fund needs to give substantial percentage to fund Neighbourhood Watch. It is very imperative to fund security at the grassroots level”, he aded.
Another community leader from Eti-Osa, Mr. Adamson Babatunde also commended the House for the Bill, and urged the House to adequately equip the agency so that it can function properly.
In hıs contrıbutıon, the Deputy State Commander of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria in Lagos State, Mr. Emmanuel Ayisire, said the bill shows how proactive the Lagos Assembly is to security challenges of insurgency, kidnapping, robbery and others.
“The country today is quite insecure and nothing will move when there is no security. We need people who are domiciled in their area of operations. They know the terrain, topography and demography of the areas”, he said, adding that the voluntary group had been promoting community policing across the 774 local governments in Nigeria, noting that it was important to embrace community policing.
“I am very happy with this bill, it will stem the rising waves of insecurity in the state,” Mr. George Taiwo, a Securıty Consultant stated.
In his keynote address, the State Chıef lawmaker and the ınıtıator of the Bıll, Hon. Obasa said, “The bill is for the purpose of the people and safety of all, we have all noticed upsurge in crimes in different nature across the country.
“Here at the Lagos Assembly, our resolve as lawmakers is to make laws that will make residents enjoy the dividends of democracy in the comfort of their homes.
“Issues of security and safety have been an issue of concern to Nigeria and the provision of adequate security of lives and property is the resolve of our government.
“We are determined to completely wipe out crimes in Lagos State. We want the participation of the people at the grassroots in policing their community because they live there and were privy to intelligent information.”
Obasa commended Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode for his efforts at wiping out crimes in the state through stregthenıng of the State Security Trust Fund and purchase of sophisticated weapons for all security agencies in the state with the support of the House.
Reviewing the bill, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade said the 31 section bill was to enhance security of the state.
Agunbiade said, “This bill is to respond more adequately to the security challenges of this state, it has to do with all round strategies to effectively make Lagos safe for citizens and investors.
“It is to curtail the activities of criminals and hoodlums that ıs affecting the economic activities of the state.”
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of House Committee on Information and Strategy, Hon. Tunde Braimoh said security remained a primary responsibility of any government, stressing that any government that fails to secure lives and property has failed woefully.
The lawmaker, who described security as a living subject, said no one could police an environment more than the inhabitants of the environment.
He said the proposed bill was to complement the efforts of the Federal Government to end crimes and all disturbances.
“What is important is pro activity, prevention of crimes and safety of our society, we want to tackle the modern day challenges of security in Lagos State.
“We want to bring security to the consciousness of everyone. All have a role to play in security, condoning crime is an offence,” Braimoh stated.

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