By Bolaji O. Akinyemi.
The dust of tribal storm that rose against the peaceful coexistence of all Lagosians raised during the last general election early in the year was yet to settle down. When Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Mudasiru Ajayi Obasa laid to rest the pretense that APC was not behind the incitement of tribal hatred that was eating at the soul of Lagos by stating that the Assembly will review the existing laws of Lagos to discourage non indigenes from owning property in Lagos, on the very day he was unanimously elected by the Assembly that bears no semblance of the Cosmopolitan structure of the state.
This latest demand is for constitutional amendment to accommodate State Police made by the Obasa led Lagos Assembly. Pressing as the need for state policing is to security of lives and property in our unfortunate federal structure that is far from what it should be, the tribal bigotry of leadership at our state level which unfortunately assumed terrible dimensions under APC led Buhari administration seems the expression of majority of the Yoruba people when you hear them saying or singing “awa lokan”, suggestive of its our turn to take our pound of flesh on other tribes like the herdsmen and Fulani in general did under Buhari.
The Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday, 11th July 2023 held its first plenary since its inauguration with a call on the National Assembly to commence actions that would lead to the establishment of state police. If the last time the Assembly met, Obasa in his acceptance speech promised a review that will render non indigenes who have homes and houses in Lagos homeless, and the demolition of markets and houses that we have witnessed in Lagos give credence to this, then all nationalists and Patriots should be worried about the latest call.
The House further called on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to urgently equip the Neighbourhood Safety Corps of the State so that its personnel could effectively perform the task of community policing. Does the structure Neighbourhood Corps reflect the demography of Lagos? The name is beautifully coined to project a metropolitan intention but the recruitment doesn’t. With what was witnessed during the last election, this is nothing but a ploy to officially arm touts and Omo onile ahead of 2027 election. State police is noble but there is no nobility with the men calling for it. National Assembly should therefore be careful and shouldn’t respond to this hurriedly as tribal warlords will want them to do.
While the Speaker noted with concern, recent attacks on communities in some states of the federation with many citizens losing their lives and belongings. He has no word on the “unhonourable” violent election which recorded casualties that foistered himself and others as honourable members of the State House of Assembly.
Recalling the incessant herdsmen attack, particularly the latest on some Plateau communities that left many dead the Speaker said he read about the killings. The Speaker shouldn’t be more concerned about what he read than what he witnessed in Lagos. He also noted the abduction of the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State, Mr. Paul Omotoso.
Obasa said though the Lagos Assembly had consistently clamoured for the establishment of state police, it is an appropriate time for the Senate and the House of Representatives to begin an amendment of the Constitution to contain the creation of the alternative policing system. As appropriate as the time should have been the body language of persons like the Speaker has rendered it inappropriate and no one in Lagos should pretend about this. Particularly those that will be affected.
Supporting the Speaker, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu, commended the Speaker for bringing up the issue of state policing again.
“We remember very well that it was you that sponsored the bill on Neighbourhood Safety Corps and we see what it has done for our State and how other states are copying it,” Yishawu said.
While noting that President Bola Tinubu started well with moves to rejig the economy, Hon. Yishawu said security remains at the heart of a country’s progress urging for more focus in this area.
The motion was supported by other lawmakers who complained about the inadequate number of police personnel in Lagos and also suggested police reforms at the national level.
The lawmakers argued further that the establishment of state police would boost employment across the country.
Meanwhile, the House, through Speaker Mudashiru Obasa, has congratulated President Bola Tinubu over his election as Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The House said it believes in Tinubu’s capacity to bring the countries under ECOWAS to work together. The need of Nigeria for collaboration with ECOWAS on security can not be underscores as most herdsmen related attacks are carried out by immigrants who must cross at least one ECOWAS country border before arriving in Nigeria.
The President should by now be weary of praises of men from his tribe who are in one breath championing national security and in another promoting tribal insecurity of other tribes resident among them. These men the President should seriously call to order.
Dr. Bolaji O Akinyemi is an Apostle and Nation Builder, Convener Apostolic Round Table, ART. Also the BOT Chairman Project Victory Call Initiative, AKA, PVC-Naija.