Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Monday handed over another Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Resource Centre to the Area C Police Command at Funsho Williams Avenue Surulere urging the Police to do their duty according to the law, especially during the coming General Elections.
In his remarks before the handover ceremony, Governor Fashola emphasized that the primary duty of the police was to protect life and property of citizens pointing out that this duty could not be more important and expedient than during the general Elections when they are supposed to ensure a violence-free exercise.
Noting that democracy is supposed to respond to the needs of the people and not to take their lives, the Governor, who told the policemen gathered at the venue that they are entitled to vote with their families, however added “Once you wear this uniform, you are not Policemen to any political party or any individual or group; you are policemen to the people of Lagos”.
“Let me remind you that you are policemen to the people of Lagos because it is important that we make this point especially as we prepare for elections and as we seek to have a violence-free election. That is very important. The elections will have no meaning if we lose lives in the process because democracy is supposed to respond to peoples’ needs and not to take their lives”, he said.
Commenting on the purpose for the ICT, Governor Fashola said it would help the Police keep detailed records of exhibits and also clean up the environment in which Policemen do their work adding that all over the world Police stations are known to have very clean environment.
“I believe that the environment in which people do their work influences the way they see themselves and their attitude to work. We want you to work in a clean environment that boosts your personal self esteem and makes you feel happy when you come to do your work”, the Governor said.
Noting that the Area C ICT Resource Centre was one of over 100 such centres in Police Stations across the State, Governor Fashola said over the years even in dealing with simple accident cases where there is no fatality, Police keep vehicles that are accidented adding that over time, the value of such vehicles depreciate while their owners lose interest in them.
“But in my years of practice as a lawyer, I cannot recall one case where an accident vehicle was brought to court as exhibit. So the question then is, why are we keeping them? Why can’t we take the photograph of the vehicles from all angles and release them on bond to the owners with the undertaking that they will produce them whenever they are needed in court?”, the Governor argued.
He added, “So we are giving you the equipment, the digital cameras, the servers to take all these evidence and store them in your files. Whenever the evidence is needed in court you produce the photographs and if the vehicle is needed, the owner will be asked to produce it because it has been released to him on bond”.
According to him, “If you do this, many things will change. First, the congestion in your environment will change and it becomes a clean environment. Secondly, in some Police stations they take up part of the road, so traffic will move. More importantly, the vehicle owner whom you deprived of his vehicle will be happier with you because oftentimes it is their only vehicle so if the vehicles are detained in the Police station, the owners are compelled to take public transport. These are some of the negatives we must change no matter how deep seated they are”.
Noting that the systems provided are powered by solar, Governor Fashola said apart from keeping their records, the Sola Power would also provide some sort of Power to the Police inverters to also keep their walkie-talkies and other communication equipment in full charge.
He thanked the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Office of the Attorney General for providing the training for some police personnel within the Police Command expressing the hope that those trained would train others “and in the fullness of time everyone will have a hang of it”.
The Governor also disclosed that his administration is planning to provide squad vehicles for every Police formation in the State adding, “So apart from the patrol vehicles you have in RRS, we will provide state-of-the-art cars similar to what you have across the world. All of your communication equipment and everything will be there; there will be separation between the driver’s cabin and the passengers’ cabin. We have already started work on it and that will happen”.
Recalling that he was at the same Area C Police Division a few weeks ago to commission the building, Governor Fashola said the commissioning of the Resource Centre in the same Area C was to demonstrate the appreciation of his administration and that of the people of Lagos for the work the Police do in the State.
“It is also to fulfill my commitment that our work here continues. After the building, the furniture, the gym and the offices, there is still a lot that is supposed to be done in order to make it easier for you to do your work and by so doing, we keep the wheels of justice running and we keep peaceful co-existence at its highest optimum”, he said.
The Governor also gave an undertaking to rebuild the defective structures that house the Police at the barracks within the Area C saying his administration has already done structural assessment of the quarters and has found it unsafe.
Saying he would not like to deal with the unpleasant outcome if the building is allowed to collapse, Governor Fashola declared, “It is a very old building. I have given an offer to the State Command; if you evacuate that building and demolish it, we will replace it. As soon as you evacuate the building and demolish it our team will move in and take measurements”.
Earlier in his welcome address, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Kayode Aderanti, thanked Governor Fashola for his commitment and passion towards restoring the glory of Lagos City and remembering to make the Police part of the infrastructure of the City adding, “Since you came on board, what we have in Lagos State wouldn’t have been possible if you were not Police friendly”.
Comparing the Governor with one of the Mayors of New York City who cleaned the City up within the space of two terms in office when it was dirty, the Commissioner declared, “That is what Your Excellency has done in Lagos. Hardly could you see a Governor who is so committed, so passionate in restoring the glory of the City underscoring the fact that Police should be part of that architecture”.
“So we are here to thank you and we believe this ICT Centre will go a long way in enhancing the beauty of this edifice and all other Police Stations in Lagos State. We are conscious of the fact that you have spent so much money because from records over 100 police stations have this kind of facilities”, the Police boss said promising that his Command would ensure adequate use of the equipment to keep proper records and maintain clean environment at the Police stations.