The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has urge community leaders to be watchful of the vigilante groups created by youths in various communities during the lockdown.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana who hailed the development, said in a statement on Sunday that the vigilante groups must conduct themselves properly and ensure that their actions were in line with the community policing initiative and do not throw residents into panic as witnessed in the last few days.
Elkana said, “The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, and heads of other security agencies in the state, including the army, air force, navy, the DSS, etc, embarked on confidence-building patrol and visited Ikeja, Mangoro, Iyana Ipaja, Agege, Dopemu, Ojodu, Berger, Ogba, Abattoir, Oshodi, Mushin, Lawanson, Surulere, Orile, Bode Thomas, Sabo, Ejigbo, Aguda, Ijesha, Okota, Festac, Ejigbo, Ikotun, Idimu, Agege, Ikotun, Igando, Mushin, Surulere, Festac, Kofo Abayomi, Ajah, Ilaje, Langbasa, Adeniji Adele, Ebute Ero, Apapa, Ajengule, Tolu, Amukoko, Ijora-Badia and Layeni, among other areas in the state.
“The CP and other speakers, while addressing the residents, reassured them of the unwavering commitment of law enforcement agencies in the state to protect their lives and property. The CP also advised residents to shun rumour-mongering and spreading of fake news.
“He described the rumour making the rounds on the social media that a gang of criminals known as the One Million Boys was planning to attack some communities in Lagos State as baseless and that the command, under his watch, had in the last four months incapacitated the gang and other criminal elements in the state with the arrest of over 800 suspects and the recovery of over 40 various categories of firearms.
“The CP called on community leaders, traditional rulers, religious leaders, landlord associations, etc, to support the ongoing onslaught on criminal elements in the state. He urged parents and guardians to monitor the activities of their children and wards and ensure that they were not recruited into any criminal gang.”
He added, “On the spontaneous creation of vigilante groups by youths in various communities, the CP said it was one of the principles of community policing for citizens to participate in policing their local communities, but it had to be monitored and controlled by the police for quality assurance.
“Such vigilante groups must conduct themselves in a way that their activities will not create more tension and panic, as witnessed in the manner some of them were in the last few days seen displaying weapons and burning tyres. Their conducts are creating more panic and in some instances, residents assume them to be armed robbers and gangsters.
“To address this gap, community leaders and landlord associations, among others, are tasked with the responsibility of vetting the youth the communities trust enough to participate in policing their neighbourhoods. The Neighbourhoods Watch initiative must be strictly monitored and controlled.”