The immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, says that when he took over as governor in 2007, the Rapid Response Squad, which is an arm of the Lagos State Police Command set up to respond to emergencies within the state, had only 37 guns.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, however, said after investing heavily in equipment for the police, the capability of the police was boosted, thereby leading to a huge reduction in the rate of crime in the state.
Fashola said this during a programme on Channels Television titled “View from the top,” on Monday.
He said, “We need to provide equipment and resource for security personnel. If they do not have equipment and resource, they will not be able to do their work. One of the things I found out at the security town hall meeting was that the Rapid Response Squad that was responsible for responding to violent crimes, had only 37 rifles at the time.
“And that was the period when we had bank robberies almost every day of the week. People forget that now. We had robberies and carjacking and what we used to see was that police would respond after the robbers had gone.
“So, during my first meeting with them, I asked them why they arrived at crime scenes late and we learnt there were no vehicles, no fuel supply and more importantly, they did not have enough guns. Most of the guns were at the police stations and the RRS of almost 2,000 personnel had only 37 guns.”
Fashola said his administration started life insurance policy for the policemen and also acquired bulletproof vests and thousands of patrol vehicles to make their jobs easier.
He said the policemen were paid monthly allowance to augment the salaries they received from the Federal Government.
Fashola, who left a debt of over N150bn for his successor, Akinwunmi Ambode, said he did not regret procuring loans to finance capital intensive projects as this was the practice in developed nations.