By Emmanuel Udom
On face value, the anti-crime war scorecard for the Lagos state police command looks impressive and commendable. The police tackled 13,072 crime cases from January to mid-March, this year.
These may seem to be a carefully worded scorecard. But, crime war is not a tea party, anywhere in our world.
So, before you give kudos or condemnations to the police in Lagos for a job well done, please pause and read the entire piece, first.
Some of us are sleeping with our eyes closed, these days. Others are not. This is the truth. Security is not the business of the police alone. It is our collective, business, fate, karma- you and I.
Hakeem Olusegun Odumosu, police commissioner for the state command, dropped this news, March 22, 2021, when he summoned journalists to the police headquarters in Ikeja, for a parade of suspected criminals.
Cases charged to court during this period under review top the list with 3,258, while 1,107 convictions and fines were recorded by the police.
These followed with the arrest of 2,953 okada riders for traffic offences, raid of 1,592 hoodlums and arrest of 997 suspects over COVID19 offences.
Suspected armed robbers arrested January to mid-March, 2021, stood at 234, cultists (343), murder cases (91), arms recovered (265), ammunitions recovered (265), foiled robbery (75), stolen vehicles (31), rape-defilement (91), gender based cases (127), and vehicles contravened for driving against traffic (82). Quite interesting, I must say.
It is also interesting to note that 508 vehicles were contravened for violating the 12 am- 4 am curfew in various parts of the state, while 22 clubs and bars were raided by the police. These came as 184 motorcycles and 10 were recovered.
On the March 22, parade day of the suspects, a total of 132 suspects were lined up by the police.
These comprise three robbery suspects, three cultists, two murder suspects, one impersonator, one suspect for mistreatment of corpse and one for child stealing, etc. This is where the Lagos police statistics ends.
But, like other police commissioners before him, CP Odumosu vowed to continue to ensure that all the resources at the disposal of his command will be mobilized to suppress all forms of criminalities from all fronts in Lagos. Good sales copy, if you ask me.
He sure knows what he is talking about. He is a tried, tested and experienced crime buster, who knows the state inside-out.
I am not writing this piece from the wilderness. I was among the many journalists from the print, electronic and online media outfits that attended the parade and I got the hard copy of the police report, or what I choose to call Lagos police anti-crime war scorecard.
Truth is that I read Odumosu’s sales copy five times on different days after the parade, earnestly searching to find where the number of police officers, serving or retired, were arrested for extortions or corruption and could not find it.
I also think the police in Lagos at this point in time should also include in their parade reports about officers that were killed during the usual cross-fire with men of the underworld and what police authorities have done, or will do to compensate these officers.
Crime war is deadly, slippery, unpredictable and sophisticated anywhere in our world. Criminals are creative for the wrong reasons.
In Lagos, a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and commercial nerve center of Nigeria, with a galloping estimated population of 20 million people, Lagosians need to have an idea and read a more balanced and proactive crime scorecard from the police in order to make informed judgments.
I agree that for operational and security reasons, there are reports that should not be made public at any point in time for the peace, security, unity and progress of our beloved country.
Balancing police crime scorecards with fatalities or casualties on both sides of the war-zone is fair, balanced to the media and off course, members of the public.
It is also noted that the police-okada tussle along the BRT lane on Lagos-Abeokuta expressway seems to be an endless one.
The reality is that police in Lagos are trying its best to tackle reckless, restive and desperate okada riders, who prefer to knock down people while hustling for survival along BRT lanes.
But, the same police should fashion out a more proactive way of dealing with these okada riders, headlong.
The riders are becoming nuisance by the day, flouting the laws and killing people in the name of hustling for survival. Bad copy for Lagos.