By Lukman Olabiyi

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu yesterday disclosed that he had received a long list of abandoned buildings across Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), which may serve as safe haven for criminals and appropriate action would be taken soon

Sanwo-Olu said the state government would be taking proactive action towards ensuring that the buildings do not become security threats in communities where they have been found.

The governor disclosed this while speaking during a live interview on Arise TV, where he shared details of his administration’s achievements in the last two years.

On rising rate of insecurity in South West, Sanwo-Olu said the state government remained at alert to prevent the spillover of criminalities from neighbouring states into Lagos.

He said his administration was on the verge of recruiting additional 1,500 men into the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) to boost intelligence gathering in local communities and aid security agencies to quickly respond to crimes.

He said Lagos, in the last six months, had collaborated with the police to strengthen community policing in addressing localised crimes and checking activities of cultists. The State gave the police 1,250 men from the state’s Neighborhood Watch.

He stressed that the strategy would be effective if residents remained vigilant and offered information on strange activities in their neighbourhoods.

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He said: “Two days ago, I receive report of abandoned buildings across the State from Neighbourhood Watch. The list is about 250 pages with addresses and pictures of the buildings. These are some of the places where the criminals and miscreants hide to launch their activities. We are passing this list to the security for immediate response and actions. This surveillance speaks to the necessity of state police. All the preventable criminalities happening are because we have not agreed as a nation that there should be state police.

“We have been an advocate of state police and it is one of the submissions I made at the recent public hearing on constitutional amendment in Lagos. State police is a force whose time has come. Whether it is Amotekun or Neighbourhood Watch, these are all pointers to the necessity of States to have police to make them stronger. All the kidnapping and killings we have been witnessing can be nipped in the bud. Our challenge in Lagos is not having forests where kidnappers hide; it is more about cultism. I need to think global but localise my response to these challenges.”

On whether the State would ban commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada,
Sanwo-Olu said the government was providing an alternative to the motorcycles with the First and Last-Mile minibuses; thousands of them will be pushed into the system.

The governor, however, disclosed that transport unions had reached out to the state government on regularisation of informal transport services, including Okada.
He said efforts were underway to leverage biometric data for approval of commercial motorcycle operation in areas where it had not been proscribed.

On the recent progress recorded by the State in its response to infectious diseases, Sanwo-Olu revealed that Lagos now has the capacity to detect new variants of Coronavirus (COVID-19), given procurement of latest PCR machine. This, he said, came ahead of the move by the State to build a world-class Infectious Disease Centre in Yaba to support research for diagnosis and treatment of contagious diseases in future.