Filed in News by on October 20, 2009

Fears in Lagos over influx of strange persons
By Odita Sunday and Olalekan Okusan

THE continued influx of strange persons into Lagos has sent the state police command to the drawing board.

Among other measures evolved by the police to ensure that there is no security breach in the state are provision of updated security tips to residents, crackdown on the sale of dangerous weapons in unauthorised places, and close up on persons with suspicious movement.

The state police commissioner, Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo, who spoke on the development yesterday, urged the residents to be security conscious and to report all suspicious movement and gathering to the nearest police station.

Akpoyibo said the police was disturbed by the trend because most of the persons trooping into the state had no defined mission or means of livelihood.

Also, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, has urged Governor Babatunde Fashola to check the rising level of immorality, nudity, indecency and pornography in the state.

In a statement made available to journalists yesterday by Gabriel Osu, the Director of Social Communications, Lagos Archdiocese, Okogie warned youths to be wary of the implications of patronising nightclubs because of the danger inherent in such acts.

Akpoyibo told journalists that the mode of entry of the strange persons had become a concern to his command.

He said: “What I intend to do is to simply provide Lagos residents with updated security advice and tips. This is predicated on our determination to promoting proactive policing propelled by intelligence-driven strategies. The command has observed with deep concern the unusual influx of young men, with no defined mission into Lagos metropolis. These young men, who usually arrive from different parts of the country in large numbers and sometimes in groups of fifties and above, have neither any known place of abode, nor any feasible means of sustaining their stay in the city.

“Their influx and mode of entry into the state have raised some security concerns within the law enforcement circle, thus necessitating close monitoring and surveillance of their activities and lifestyle by the state police command. While the command is conscious of, and will continue to respect the constitutional rights of all citizens to freedom of movement and association, we wish to advise that such rights must be exercised and enjoyed within the confines of the law,” he said.

Akpoyibo, therefore, urged Lagos residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious gathering to the nearest police division.

“The command therefore wishes to enjoin all Lagos people to remain vigilant and report any suspicious gathering, assembly or movement within their localities to the nearest police station.”

He also warned against indiscriminate display and sale of offensive weapons and other dangerous items.

The police chief said his command had also observed “with concern the indiscriminate display and sale of dangerous tools such as knives, cutlasses, cudgels, scissors, hammers, at traffic jams along major highways as well as inner city roads within the state. Apart from the fact that these hawkers obstruct vehicular and human traffic thereby endangering lives and property, hawking or trading on the highways and, other unauthorised places, is in itself an offence under the relevant state laws. The indiscriminate display of these dangerous items in the streets also makes them easily accessible to criminals and persons with criminal propensities who could use them against the society.”

He advised dealers, sellers and hawkers of such items to desist from displaying, selling or hawking them in the streets and highways.

Akpoyibo said persons found violating this order would be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the relevant laws of the land.

“In addition, law-abiding Lagos residents are encouraged to desist from patronising hawkers of these implements which could easily be converted to tools of terror. This, we believe, will serve as a strong disincentive to their illicit trade. Finally, with the ’ember months’ now with us, we wish to re-assure the people of our determination to ensure a crisis and crime-free Yuletide period. We plead for their continued support, co-operation, prayers and understanding, trusting that God will see us through,” he added.

Reacting to the increasing number of nude clubs in the metropolis, Okogie lamented that evil had taken over in the state.

He said: “The way things are going, when girls of between the ages of 15 and 25 dance nude and throw caution to the winds, with boys and men as onlookers, is sending to the society a wrong signal, it is pertinent danger; we are sitting on loaded gun.

“Night clubs are increasing in Lagos, those closed earlier are reopening with impunity with a change of name. I hope this is not making mockery of Lagos as a mega city, city of excellence and city of aquatic splendour”?

To check the ugly situation, Okogie said the state government should not allow brothels to operate nightclubs, while gambling should be outlawed.

Parents and guardians were also charged to curb the excesses of young people.

According to him, “it is contrary to the feelings of the people of this state. They are defying government in all intents and purposes. Government must do something now to stem the tide of the evil sweeping across the state. Some prominent persons are among them, some top civil servants are with them, and they lure innocent girls into prostitution. Too bad! Government must look into the immorality in the state urgently before this evil overtakes us.”


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