[FILE PHOTO] Imohimi EdgalLagos Police Commissioner, Mr. Imohimi Edgal, yesterday appealed to residents to be on alert as unscrupulous politicians were importing thugs ahead of next year’s general elections.
Edgal spoke at a luncheon held in his honour by University of Jos (UNIJOS) Alunmi at Airport Hotel, Ikeja.
According to him, intelligence report available to the police indicated that most of the thugs were aliens from Niger Republic, who the importers intend to use to cause mayhem.
He urged residents not to hesitate to notify the police whenever they noticed strange faces in their neighbourhoods, adding that the state has been able to reduce crime rate thanks to community policing and partnership.
Edgal said: “Recently, I held two town hall meetings and during the interactive sessions, I urged the people to be vigilant and to report any strange face in their community to the police. This is because intelligence report available to us indicates that some unscrupulous politicians are importing strange people into the state with a view to using them as hoodlums.
“We cannot wish away these reports and so we must call on the public to help us verify. That is why we are urging them to be vigilant and to immediately report the presence of strange faces in their midst. Recall that at the last interagency security meeting I organised, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) said they have recovered over 1,000 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) from aliens. So, it is not like we do not have them. These foreigners are in our midst and we must join hands to locate them and flush them out.”
Asked where such issues were predominant, Edgal said Alimosho, Apapa, Alaba Rago, Idi-Araba, Badagry, Epe and Ikorodu axis.
“This is like a wake up call to people on the need for more vigilance this election period,” he said. “If they notice influx of persons they must alert security agency immediately so that action can be taken.”
While hampering on the gains of community partnership, Edgal said the command was able to avert a major clash between herders and farmers at Badagry some months ago because residents volunteered information. He explained how a senior security officer’s wife had brought in herdsmen from the north to graze her cattle only for the herders to allow the animals to stray into people’s farmlands and destroyed crops.
“This led to a serious issue,” Edgal said. “The herders injured a local and the locals in turn took one of the herders hostage. Thankfully, we had community partnership with the people and information was urgently passed across.
“I deployed policemen to the scene and thereafter requested that all parties be brought before me for a meeting. I met with them and we addressed the issue. So, it is as a result of community policing that we have not been faced with the challenge of killings caused by herders/farmers clashes.”
On crime statistics in the state, Edgal said 366 suspected armed robbers were arrested while 24 died during shootout with police this year. He said two policemen were also killed in the period under review.