The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Idowu Owohunwa, has described as worrisome, a noticeable trend that showed that AK-47 rifles and other firearms were being illegally manufactured in the state.
Owohunwa expressed the concern at the inauguration of the state’s Complaint Response Unit (CRU) by the acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun held at the command’s headquarters in Ikeja.
Delivering his welcome address, Owohunwa said there was an increasing local expertise in the fabrication of various types of firearms including replicas of foreign made pistols, AK47 and other assault rifles.
This trend, coupled with the threat of cultism, he said, projected a potent danger to the security space in the state.
Aside from the threat of cultism, the CP said other security threats in the state included armed robbery, kidnapping, murder and sexual and gender-based violence.
He said: “We are also constantly confronted with the challenge of dissecting and dealing with the thin line between the civil and criminal dynamics of land disputes which are also prevalent in the state.
“Also of routine concern is the traffic gridlock and the attendant occasional traffic robberies which are compounded by on-going road projects across the state including, in particular, the Lagos-Ibadan highway.
“The crime profile of the state is further accentuated by the prevalence of illegal firearms proliferation, and illicit drug abuse and trafficking.
“Hardly does a day pass by without the ever vigilant operatives of the command recovering weapons and illicit drugs of various descriptions at stop and search points, raids of black spots, and other operational engagements with all such recoveries linked to the perfection of crimes across the State.
“Most worrisome in all these is a noticeable trend that indicates an increasing local expertise in the fabrication of various types of firearms including replicas of foreign made pistols, AK47 and other assault rifles.
“This trend, coupled with the threat of cultism, projects a potent danger to the security space of Lagos State and if nothing drastic is done by all strategic State actors and the citizens to complement the efforts of the Police in rolling back the dangerous tide.
“In cognizance of this, we are planning to organise a conference in the coming weeks with intent to mainstream the discourse on cultism and violent crimes in Lagos and galvanise all strategic stakeholders and the different levels of governance in the State to the evolving threat.
“This is with the overall goal of adopting a whole-of-society approach to mitigating the trend. The groundwork for the Conference is being currently perfected and we look forward to inviting the IGP to return to Lagos and declare the event open in due course. It is our expectation that the IGP will once again, honour the Command with his attendance,: he said.
Owohunwa said the IG’s maiden visit provided an opportunity to brief him on the internal security situation in Lagos, the strides attained and gaps his support would be needed to bridge.
Continuing, the CP said he had focused on galvanizing all officers of the command towards perfecting operational strategies and providing strategic leadership founded on discipline, professional integrity as a pathway to sustaining the exceptional policing framework.
He added that, “Working as an intertwined team, I am glad to report that officers of the command have embraced the vision of the IGP and perfected the leadership models of intelligence-led, citizens-driven, and operationally proactive policing.
“We are also leveraging our strong inter-agency synergy with the Department of State Services, the military detachments in the state and other state and federal law enforcement and public safety agencies in the state.
“Above all, we are adopting a problem-solving framework that is founded on the policing principle of zero-tolerance to crime, the practice of crime-mapping, and utilization of crime statistics and intelligence analysis tools to support perspective policing.
“We have imbibed a new policing orientation that emphasizes proactive approach to identification and mitigation of threats.
“Through these initiatives, we have succeeded in re-dominating the public security space, limited the liberty of criminals to breach public peace, and have significantly stabilized the security order across the state.
“Our capacity to prevent or respond to major security breaches and bring felons to deserved justice has been appreciably enhanced and today, we are steadily building Lagos into an impregnable fortress against criminal elements…” he explained.
Acknowledging that there were isolated security breaches of concern, Owohunwa noted that his officers and men had proven that they had a record of resilience, synergy, diligence, courage, sacrifice, and the right motivation to present a common front that will, undoubtedly, continue to smoke out and bring all criminal elements in the state to deserved justice in the fullness of time.