In a bid to combat crime, Lagos State Government magnanimously donated 100 4-door salon cars, 55 Ford Ranger pick-ups, 10 Toyota land cruiser pick-ups, 15 BMW power bikes, 100 power bikes, Isuzu trucks, three helicopters, two gun boats, 15 armoured personnel carriers to the Rapid Response Squad and the Nigeria Police Force. I must really appreciate the efforts of the incumbent Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, who has proven that he is aware of the state of security in Lagos. However, this donation is one of the endless donations to the Force since they have become the biggest target for Corporate Social Responsibility.
There are many organizations that keep donating to the Nigeria Police but we rarely see the job done by these vehicles. These vehicles are stationed at various parts of the state for some weeks after it has been given, noticed for a while, thereafter, they varnish from the streets.
The operations in which these vehicles operate at optimum level are illegal operations such as roadblocks when people would be forcefully demanded of cash in a cash-strapped economy. Plying one-way for no ‘emergency reason’ (law enforcement agency that flouts the law) with the mindset they are above the law and when they want to chase a vehicle that is overloaded with goods. I am not encouraging these acts but I want to challenge the Police Force to see the need to give the citizenry a benefit of doubt in the area of providing adequate security of Lagosians.
Equally, in this country, the vehicles used by the Nigeria Police Force are the mostly scruffy; let’s think of the various vehicles of the police that we see on the streets. One of the many questions beginning for an answer is, ‘where are the older vehicles donated to RRS and the Police?’ It is obvious that the rate in which a vehicle deteriorates is fast but the depreciation depends on the maintenance of these vehicles. This was stated by the Lt. Gen. Abdurrahman Dambazau, the representative of President Muhammadu Buahari at the event. Another question to think about is, ‘Who is responsible for the maintenance of these vehicles?
In this country, it is only the vehicles of the Police Force that cannot be auctioned. This makes it evident that there is a need to revamp the Police Force in its entirety. The Nigeria Police need to use these vehicles in a civil way. Many of them are not that reckless with their personal cars.
In the same vein, there are a lot of mechanic villages in and around town where these vehicles are abandoned after the reckless use by the Police Force. This reflects the level to which government vehicles are ‘nobody’s vehicles’. Many vehicles of government agencies and parastatals are in the garages of retired civil servants while those currently in service carry out their official duties on foot.
Equally, there is a need for strict monitoring of the vehicle and its inhabitants. This will help to curb the way in which these vehicles are used. Telecommunications Companies can offer to ‘donate’ as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility car tracking devices for effective monitoring of these vehicles just like that they do to their fleet. Fleet monitoring will checkmate the excesses of these officers in the delivery of their statutory roles.
The Police Force and RRS should use these vehicles conscientiously so that the citizenry can have a good story to tell of these donations from taxes levied on Lagosians. Criminals that ought to be given a hot chase out of the state and this must be done consciously while taxpayers can relax to enjoy their hard-earned wages without the fear of criminals either on the road or in the comfort of their houses.
(c)Olutayo IRAN-TIOLA, Lagos, Nigeria