by Akintomiwa Agbaje
The Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, in a meeting of the 7th Annual Town Hall Meeting on Security held at the Civic Centre on Victoria Island, yesterday said about N51 billion is needed annually to buy and fuel 9,000 police patrol vehicles.
The meeting themed: “Sustaining local responses to rising national security challenges” was organised by the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) was beaconed by the presentation of awards and cash gifts to over 50 police officers for their bravery in foiling crime in the last year.
The Nation reports:
Fashola said N45 billion was needed to buy 9,000 Toyota Hilux vans at N5 million each and N6.3 billion to fuel them.
He said: “The state does not have such resources, either from our direct government spending on security or from the support that you citizens give through the Security Trust Fund.”
Fashola said the government would approach the task in batches by first providing 100 patrol vehicles to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and three vehicles each to the 13 area commands and 106 divisional police stations. This brings the number of vehicles to be bought in the first batch to 357.
He said: “The tentative cost of this critical intervention, including vehicle purchase, communication equipment, branding, servicing and fueling for one year is about N2.3 billion. While these will help our crime prevention strategy, they will not deter all crimes.”
Fashola said the state is working with international partners to develop crime scene management and evidence gathering capacity, “so that when criminals successfully commit crimes, we will be able to gather evidence to track, prosecute and punish them”.
He urged well-meaning Nigerians and corporate organisations yet to contribute to the LSSTF to do so and advised residents to be security conscious.
LSSTF Chairman Remi Makanjuola said the trust fund has, over seven years, put together N12 billion in cash and asset to improve security.
LSSTF Executive Secretary Fola Arthur-Worrey decried the Federal Government’s attitude to funding the police. He said N311 billion was budgeted for the police this year, of which N293 billion is for personnel cost.
Arthur-Worrey said: “This leaves just N8 billion for overheads and N10 billion for capital expenditure. Only N400 million was set aside in the budget for the purchase of vehicles.”
He said the projection leaves a policeman with an operational cost of N21,000 annually.
Governor Babatunde Fashola at the same meeting said that the armoured cars the embattled minister of aviation, Stella Oduah, bought for the cost of N255 million each, would buy 51 police patrol vehicles
Sahara Reporters reports:
“It is sad to know that the Federal Government that allocate three patrol vehicles for one state police command of 370, 000 police men, is unable to resolve how N255 million was used to purchase 2 saloon vehicles for one officer. It is a very grave irony.
“The cost of average vehicle needed to patrol the state is just N5 million. And with such fund, we will have put at least 51 patrol vehicles on the road, patrolling the streets of Lagos.”
“In spite of all this, they resist the idea of a state police. The money from the fund was in the last one year used to provide vehicles for the Nigerian Prison Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, National Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC and indeed the airport wing of the Nigerian police, is funded from this money. And it is the same aviation ministry that manage the airport that we had this very odious car scandal of N255 million.”
The governor noted that the upshot of central Government’s failure to confront security has continued for the past seven years.
“The residents of Lagos have borne the burden of that neglect, and there is no indication that anything will change soon, in spite of endless reform deliberation and proposals.”
On the crime rate in the state, Fashola said “Our crime data base now has record content of 92, 488 which helps us to keep track of all those who have been arrested, prosecuted, jailed or have any contact with the criminal justice system.”
He added that the state is preparing for a future of crime prevention, saying “it will be technologically driven, scientifically grounded and result assured.”