In the continued effort of his administration to improve security and environmental sanitation in the State, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, (SAN), Thursday met with members of the State’s Neighbourhood Watch, Community Development Councils (CDCs) and Community Development Associations (CDAs).
The meeting was to sensitise them on their roles in the implementation of government policies, especially at the grassroots.
The meeting, which took place at the Banquet Hall of the Lagos House, Alausa, had in attendance 377 Watchers, representing the 377 wards of the state, 114 Neighourhood Coordinators (NECO) officers, seven State Coordinators and 57 Community Development Council Chairmen, representing the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas as well as chairmen of Community Development Associations in the state.
Before the meeting went into close session, Governor Fashola who welcomed all the participants to the meeting, thanked them on behalf of all elected officials in Lagos State for their assistance in enabling the administration deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.
The Commissioner for Rural Development, Hon. Cornelius Ojelabi, while answering questions from newsmen on the meeting said the governor charged the watchers with the responsibility of providing information to the police and other relevant government agencies on the issue of security and environmental sanitation.
According to him, the governor was particular in soliciting the support of the CDCs and CDAs to ensure that the state is kept clean as well as to ensure that the state is secured, pointing out that when the state is kept clean and secure, investors would come in thereby creating jobs for the unemployed in the state.
On Okada riders, the commissioner said, “These are people residing within our environment. We are not saying they should not do business, but they should do it with moderation. The law says by 10 pm, they should not operate. We have found out that men of the underworld are using Okada to operate. The governor is of the opinion that with the help of the CDCs and CDAs, we can curb the menace of men of the underworld.”
He gave a commitment that the new term of the administration would witness increased activities as it will not rest on its oars, stating that a trip round all parts of the state would reveal that developmental work has not stopped in any part of the state.
Answering questions from Government House Correspondents after the meeting, Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello said the meeting centred on the need for the Neighbourhood Watchers, the CDCs and the CDA’s to assist the government in the areas of crime detection and prevention, maintenance of clean environment and protection of State Government facilities.
The Commissioner, who noted that there is a seeming increase in crime immediately after the general elections, said the Watchers, the CDCs and CDAs were charged to provide useful information to the police to enable them prevent crime, pointing out that they were best positioned to detect criminals in their communities.
Also speaking with newsmen on the meeting, Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr Wale Ahmed said the meeting looked at ways of introducing some security measures at the grassroots level.
“The eyes of the Federal Government cannot see everything up to the grassroots level because most of the time they do not know what is going on in the states and if we are now talking about constitutional amendment, those are the issues that should be addressed instead of talking about single tenure or double tenure.
“I think one of the germane issues to be addressed now if we are to amend our constitution at all is the issue of State Police but that is not a matter of if but a matter of when it would come to pass. In this country, states would be in charge of the police but before that comes we have to have people at the grassroots level that will not bear arms, would not carry guns but would be a body that watches what is going on in the community at the grassroots level.”
Also addressing the newsmen after the meeting, the Chief Neighbourhood Watcher, Alhaji Musiliu Sanni, said the members of the Neighbourhood Watch will try their best and also seek the permission of the governor to meet all the royal fathers and let them realise that matters of security is the responsibility not only of the police or Neighbourhood Watch members but everyone.
“We must all come together and protect our people, so we are meeting all the royal fathers, we are meeting the Baales and would give them the message of the governor that we should all work together and protect Lagos State,” Alhaji Sanni added.
The State Chairman of the Community Development Committee (CDC), Alhaji .Kolawole. Dosunmu while also speaking with newsmen said the duty of the members is to disseminate all the information received at the meeting to the people at the grassroots level.