SEVERAL communities in Lagos State are now living in fear due to recent robbery attacks after the lockdown.
The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), said it has received reports of about three cases of robberies in different neighbourhoods in the state.
Okechukwu Nwanguma, Executive Director of RULAAC, said in a release that cases have been reported in Ipaja area and another in Alagbado area of Lagos.
This happened as the 14-day lockdown order issued by President Muhammadu Buhari to curb the spread of COVID-19 enters day 12 in the state.
“In one case, a relative of a resident called requesting that we call the attention of the Lagos State Police Command to the incident. A call to the Lagos State Police PRO and the Commander of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) was promptly responded to and the crime was foiled,” Nwanguma said.
RULAAC commended the Lagos State Police Command and in particular, the RRS ably led by DCP Dissu for prompt response to distress calls.
He said, “We reiterate our position that while the lockdown across states in Nigeria is a necessary measure and sacrifice to contain the further spread of the ravaging Corona Virus pandemic, it is crucial that government ensures that the palliatives (relief materials and cash support) it has earmarked to cushion the effects on the poor and vulnerable actually reach the intended targets without being diverted and pocketed by unscrupulous politicians, as they usually do.
“Without palliatives, the lockdown will inevitably result to hardships occasioned by loss of incomes and hunger among the poorest and vulnerable groups which make up the majority of the populations. And deprivation will push some of the victims into crimes especially armed robbery in neighbourhoods, as we are already witnessing.
“Unless the root causes of crime, especially at this challenging time, are addressed, which include lack and hunger, we are going to see a spike in the spate of violent crimes by people who have been pushed to the wall and desperate for survival. This will also put enormous pressure on the lean and overstretched resources of the Police and ultimately challenge their response capability and effectiveness.
“Failures by the Police have often been blamed on the Police instead of political leadership which has perennially neglected the Police and failed to adequately fund, equip and motivate them for optimal performance.
“Governments at state and federal levels need to be sensitive to the imperatives and demands of the times and ensure that social protections and palliatives are made available to the poorest and most vulnerable who are prone to crimes when subjected to deprivation. Equally important is the need for government to be sensitive of the need to support the Police with special funds, equipment and allowances to meet the additional challenges and demands of the times.
“Police officers in the front lines of enforcing public compliance with new directives arising from the lockdown as well as providing security for the people at this critical period need protection, additional support and motivation.”