New Lagos Commissioner of Police, CP Sylvester Abiodun Alabi has stated that the issue of land grabbing by ‘Omo – Oniles’, is turning into a hydra – headed monster because perpetrators are not being dealt with to serve as deterrent to others.
He said that he has charged officers and men of the state command to always charge anyone in breach of the law to be accountable for their actions in accordance with the law.
CP Alabi made the statement while responding to request of the management of the CALEB University, Imota, calling on him to assist in preventing alleged trespassers into its lands during his visit to the CALEB University, Imota in Imota Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Ikorodu Division of Lagos State, Southwest, Nigeria, on Friday, February 12.
The management of the institution had told the CP that some people are forcefully entering their lands and harassing their staff in Imota and Ajah and appealed for the police boss’ intervention.
“The issue of trespassers is not peculiar to CALEB University but a major problem in Lagos and I can’t fathom the reason behind it. I was dealing with a similar issue in the Ojo area”, CP said.
“The bottom line is, it is criminal for anybody to trespass on a land that you have ownership upon. What we need to do is to charge our law enforcement agents to be alive to their duties.
“One of the reasons this issue keeps reoccurring is because of lack of enforcement. I have always told my men that they must enforce the law whenever somebody commits an offense by charging him or her to court.
“It is because the issue has not been dealt with in an holistic manner, that’s why we are being faced with the problem and it is becoming a hydra – headed monster with landgrabbers, Omo Oniles and trespassers everywhere”, he added.
He said that the way out of the menace of trespassers in the state is to enforce the law by charging anyone breaching the law to deter others.
The CP assured the management of Caleb University that he would look into its request and act on the request for intervention against those allegedly making incursion into the institution’s premises.
“My position is that anyone caught should be made to face the law. That will deter others from breaching the law. It is because they have not been dealt with, that’s why others are being encouraged to perpetrate same act. We need to enforce the law against them because they are not above the law”, he said.
“If we (police) do our job very well, it is a matter of just arresting them and making them pay dearly for what they have done wrong and that would deter others”, Alabi said.
“I would look into your request and discuss with my DPO (Imota) and see how that can be addressed in a way that it will not reoccur again.
“I can assure that I will always be there for this citadel of learning in my capacity whenever you call on me without any hesitation. We would continue to partner with you as a University community”.
The Police Chief also restated that his policy on feasibility and community policing is still very much intact.
He also thanked and approved the institution’s request for police presence in and around the University environment which he described as strategic.
“When I came on board, I made clear my policy vision and template on how I am going to police Lagos. One of the core points is feasibility policing and dominance of security space by strengthening the response squad to distress call”, he said.
“I am happy that you mentioned that pin down point is part of the existing policing system to deter criminals from perpetrating any crime and equally happy that you mentioned our patrol along Imota, Ikorodu, Epe, Agbowa axis and we are going to sustain that.
“I am going to accede to your request to have a pin down point here because the University community is strategic point for us and we don’t want anything at all to happen there, otherwise, it will be a failure on our part and that is why I will accede to that request”, he assured the Vice Chancellor and other principal officers of Caleb University.
“Why we don’t normally do that is the fear that it could create fear in the minds of the students. We don’t want students to see the presence of police as watching them, harassing or trying to restrict their movements.
“We always try to have the consent of the University authority to come around before we do that. I am particularly happy that you have made the request”.
He commended the leadership of the University for impacting good educational and positive mentoring on the students.
“I am happy that I have not had any issue from the students of CALEB University regarding social vices like other Universities. At least, none has been brought to my knowledge that the university has been indulging in hard drugs, armed robbery and other vices”, Alabi said.
“I want to see that as a result of good leadership on the part of the management in mentoring the students to shun these vices and be greater tomorrow.
“We will continue to partner with you”, he assured.
He said that the policy focus of the state command remains intelligence gathering and community policing.
“The focus of our policy is intelligence and community policing. This is a community and I am going to establish relationships with many faces here. We would be discussing security issues that would be mutually beneficial to us all”, the police chief said.
“Police cannot do it alone and we need members of the community to partner with us by way of constantly engaging them so that we can share information and intelligence together which will tremendously assist in performing our statutory duty of securing lives and properties”.
Alabi also said that he has been educating and sensitizing officers and men of the police under his command to respect residents of the state and treat them with dignity and respect.
“I still stick to my position on human rights and under my command and watch, there will not be any human right breach. I am very passionate about it. I like to make people see that they are human beings. They are entitled to the dignity of life”, he said.
“I keep telling my officers and men that at the end of their professional time expected of them in the service, they are coming back to reintegrate themselves into the society and whatever that you must have done in the course of your career that is when you will reap it.
“I always preach that they should respect others as human beings and don’t treat them as if they are not. The only difference is that you are paid to protect them and not to humiliate or harass them.
“I have always made it clear that under my command, our men’s conduct must be in conformity with our professional ethics and norms”, he added.
Speaking earlier, Prof. Nosa Owens – Ibie, Vice Chancellor, CALEB University, congratulated the police chief on his recent appointment as Lagos Commissioner of Police.
“Sir, all of us at the Caleb University congratulate you for having done tremendously well to deserve the full honour of being appointed the Police Commissioner of Nigeria’s Centre of Excellence”, Prof. Owens – lbie said.
“We are sincerely happy for this milestone. Our confidence in you going out there to deliver meritoriously is high, because your track record speaks volume; your role in the elite Police Mobile Force as Unit Commander; sterling contributions to the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK); your administrative skills as Police Commissioner, deployed to the Central Criminal Registry (CCR); exploits at Force CID Annex, Alagbon, Lagos, from where you became Bauchi State Commissioner of Police, among few others, are there for all to see”.
The Caleb VC thanked the Nigerian Police for assisting the internal security architecture of the University in protecting the lives and properties of students and staff of the institution.
While commending the CP for being the first police chief to visit the institution since 2008, he asked the police chief to assist the University in preventing encroachment into its premises and bring about improved security presence.
“We humbly request for your assistance, advice and recommendation by virtue of your wealth of experience on security issues”, the VC said.
“We still have the challenge of persons trespassing on the land of the University”.
While appreciating the presence of the patrol vehicles along Ikorodu – Agbowa road on stop and search duties, to minimize crime in the area, Prof. Owems – lbie also requested for a permanent police patrol team along the expressway that the institution is situated.
“We also appeal to you for the establishment of a permanent police patrol team pin down point, along the highway in front of the University gate to discourage undesirable elements and criminals from any attack on the University”, he further asked.
Also speaking, Mr Adeshina Abubakri, the institution’s Bursar also called on the CP to assist the University in warding off people that are forcefully entering their lands in Imota and ajah.