AN OPEN LETTER TO GODWIN OBASEKI,THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR, EDO STATE
Mr Governor Sir, congratulations on your victory at the Court.
However,this is not the time for celebration,but a time to be more proactive in the provision of basic amenities in Edo state.I have read snippets of your wake-up call for an agricultural revolution and industrialization of the state but all these will be meaningless without the provision of energy and security for would-be-investors and the citizens of Edo state.
I will concentrate on Security in this piece.
Since Edo state might not have the needed funds to carry out these activities, they can at least be proactive in articulating some of them to arrest the ugly trend of violent crimes in the state. Subject to critical appraisal by all concerned here and general inputs, the state can start by:
1. Mobilizing the various communities to set up their internal patrol teams in their localities. That way, strangers in such communities can easily be identified and their activities monitored.
2. Once (1) is identified, such communities can convey information, to educate the public about the need for vigilance.
3.The physical environment of the most crime prone areas should be altered with speed bumps and other barriers to reduce the opportunities for getaways once a crime occurs.
4. A strong enforcement of civil laws for asset forfeiture of convicted criminals and their sponsors should be enacted immediately.
5. Special attention and monitoring should be extended to those people that are repeat offenders, repeat victims, or repeat locations.
6. Coordination with the Nigeria Police and/or Military formations in the states and other government and private services for proper monitoring and crime prevention should be bolstered.
7. All cities and villages have notoriously known kingpins. Such guys and their friends should be placed on constant monitoring.
It is a known fact that our Nigeria Police are ever complaining of lack of enough personnel or logistics. Thus, the number of police officers available for duty at any time in a crime prone location in any locality must be doubled and Edo state through the Nigeria Police and the Army can introduce hazard allowance to such rank and file from the Security Vote to boost their morale.
Our Neighborhood Watch after a psychological and competency evaluation by an independent non-partisan body should be retrained to carry out patrols on foot for intelligence gathering only. They should not have the powers to confront anybody but only make phone calls to the relevant Policing Agencies.
An effective Response Team comprising of the Police and members of the Armed Forces funded from the Federal and States Security Votes should be put in place in virtually all the Local Government areas. Once problems are identified, these guys should be activated immediately.
You can liaise with the Federal on the possibility of making a purchase of at least 3 Helicopters for each Senatorial zone in the state.This will be an added advantage because these choppers can be activated to carry out routine surveillance across the state.
Your administration must ensure at all times that there are multiple systems in place to identify public safety problems demanding special attention. They should have a Specialized Agency with multiple Toll – Free numbers monitoring specific reported crime and disorder trends ,surveying citizens to identify problems they might not have reported through official channels ,consulting with police officers and other line-level government employees and consulting with the ordinary folks on the street about developments in their neighborhoods.
Your administration must make sure it establishes a normal or acceptable level of problems resolution at rental properties, motels, and lodging houses, and put hotel and Business owners on official notice to have CCTVs installed in their premises within a specific time frame. This should also apply to all Religious Centers in the entire state. There should be a periodic meeting of property owners, hotel managers and businesses to discuss specific problems and how they are being tackled. These owners and managers themselves can pressure and educate one another toward better security management.
Having seen the above, your administration should as a matter of urgent National and State importance identify the most problematic areas based on complaints and crashes, and focus enforcement resources accordingly. Your administration must install solar powered CCTVs in all the major roads in our urban and sub-urban centers and use photo radar enforcement, varying the camera locations .
In all our city Centers, if speed limits cannot be enforced, your administration should immediately install traffic-calming devices like roundabouts, traffic circles, and speed bumps or tables.
Your administration should also set up Toll-Free numbers for Crime Reporting and introduce an anonymous Reward System for any citizen whose report can lead to a full conviction.
Your administration can develop on this . There are more sophisticated ways of preventing or fighting violent crimes, but I was looking at Nigeria and Edo state in particular and its laws before arriving at my conclusions.
I don't need any patronage from you but once you kick - start this process, a lot of Edo sons and daughters might be tempted to heed the clarion call for the establishment of ventures that can employ Edo residents thereby freeing some funds for the Government that would have been used for salaries to cater for other areas in the state needing attention.