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Personality in Focus

Lagos State Security Trust Fund is the Brainbox of Security in Lagos – Abdulrazaq Balogun, ES/CEO

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The Executive Secretary/CEO of Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), Dr. Abdurrazaq Balogun has been at the helms of an organization so significant to the progress of West Africa’s economic hub for six years. Reappointed over a year ago by Gov. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu to continue to pilot the affairs of the organization under the T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda, the medical doctor cum public administrator has steered the funding agency on a path of progressive success despite the fact that its resources are becoming leaner owing to reduced contribution of Lagosians and the increasing costs of security gadgets in the international market.

At the recent one-day working visit of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) was able to deliver modern crime fighting equipment to security agencies in Lagos. This includes 150 double cabin vehicles, 30 saloon patrol vehicles, 1000 ballistic vests, 1000 ballistic helmets, 1000 handheld police radios/walkie talkie, 100 security patrol bikes, 2 armored personnel carriers, 4 high-capacity troop carriers, 2 anti-riot water cannon vehicles, office/command furniture and other ancillary support resources.

Dr. Abdurrazaq Balogun, who incidentally played a key role as a lawmaker in the landmark legislation which birthed the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) during his 12 year stay in the Lagos House of Assembly, shared how he has been able to manage the agency in his current executive capacity. This exclusive interview granted the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP), led by OKI SAMSON is sure to make you understand the inner workings of the agency and how you can contribute meaningfully to its success. EXCERPTS:

NAOSNP: You have been at the saddle for some years. Can you share your experience so far with us?

Abdurrazaq Balogun: I have been around for over six years at the helm of affairs of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund. But I got reappointed some time last year. I must say I really don’t see obstacles. Yes, there are challenges in Lagos due to the last protest which affected our security architecture but we have put it behind us and we are trying to rebuild Lagos.

Ever since the event, we have seen gaps and tried to block the gaps. We have tried to replace the things that were lost so that we can boost the morale of our security agencies. I am aware that shortly after the event, the Governor was at Police College to speak with and incentivize the Police. At the last Town Hall meeting, he compensated six families with N10 million each. Prior to that, we have an insurance scheme for people who lost their lives in the course of securing the state.

Lagos is a very huge city even though small in size. We have to come together to overcome the ills of the society. This also speaks to the values by which we raise our children. It is been quite challenging but we continue to manage the gaps. Very soon, some of these crimes will be a thing of the past. Few days ago, the Governor accosted some of the criminals on the road.

NAOSNP: With 6 years in the saddle, you are versed in the successes of LSSTF, can you tell us more on how you make this model work?

Abdurrazaq Balogun: Drastic situations require drastic measures. Sometimes, things like a criminal must be released in 12 hours cannot work because they go back to the same crimes so we must use drastic measures to curb the issues. It is not acceptable that in Lagos, people cannot sleep with their eyes closed and people can’t drive their cars without being fearful that they will be attacked. People should also start becoming security conscious because government cannot shoulder all these responsibilities. By the way, this is a federal responsibility.

We know the huge amount of resources that Lagos channel into security yet the state has other responsibilities. In our collective interest, we must contribute our widow’s mite to the Lagos State Security Trust Fund because it has been the mainstay of security in Lagos for 13 years. It has been copied by many states in the nation. The President Muhammadu Buhari even encouraged states to copy the model because it is highly accountable and we have seen the successes over the years. So people should play their part by contributing to the Lagos State Security Trust Fund.

NAOSNP: It is obvious that huge resources go into the LSSTF model but many citizens feel it is only the rich that can help, can you clarify this?

Abdurrazaq Balogun: Anybody who says security is for the rich should just wait until they steal his sallah ram. Crime is crime. It does not know race, colour, and creed. Lagos State Security Trust Fund was created out of the ingenuity of successive governments in Lagos. So it is in our collective interest that when the city is safe, we will all prosper and this is not about rich or poor. It is this narrative that the press must continue to push out there. Lagos State Government cannot use its entire resource on security. The money can never be enough.

Lagos has about 9,000 streets, what is wrong if we have a 1 vehicle per 10 roads. That is a fleet of 900 – 1000 patrol vehicles. Lagos is an international city. All the things that we see abroad are not too much for us to have in Nigeria but the resources are huge. Plus, all these gadgets are imported using foreign exchange. None is made here. N35 million could buy 10 Hilux buses ten years ago but can barely buy 2 now. The population of then is not the same as now because as Lagos prospers, there is more influx. Other states too have a part to develop their states so that they can keep their citizens and residents.

If we have 20 million people in Lagos and only 1 million people donate N1000 to the Lagos State Security Trust Fund, that is N1 billion and I know we can do it. It is that act of responsibility. People must understand that they owe this country high level of patriotism and also realize that the giant steps of government must be complemented. The corporations that support us do so not because they don’t have security agents in their office but because they know that this model works for the collective interest. If there is no security, no bank, no manufacturing company, no cinema will open. The transport union, the market women, look at the number of markets we have in Lagos if we all play our part, we will be much better in the state.

NAOSNP: Despite your success, it still looks like not much impact is felt due to the high influx of people into Lagos, is it possible to mitigate this issue?

Abdurrazaq Balogun: The truth is that the challenge we have today is not the same as 5, 10 years ago. Yes, the Constitution guarantees free movement but it does not say that you should come aimlessly. Lagos must try to mitigate these activities. How? We have entrances leading to Lagos for which we can create city gates where we profile people using technology. There is no law that says you can’t ask questions. Technology will be used to scan the trucks and buses while the people inside will be profiled. If you will spend months in Lagos, you should be registered and have an ID. Yes, it will cost money, it will cost collaboration but the truth is nobody should be coming to Lagos without aims and objectives so the government must step up to stem the tide.

NAOSNP: Lagos State Security Trust Fund is doing so much but it doesn’t seem to be known or visible in the public, why are you not maximizing the media?

Abdurrazaq Balogun: Every organization is created by statutes. If you are curious enough, you will know that it is not by accident that Lagos has this unique security. Otherwise, why is it not happening in other states, Ogun, Oyo, Zamfara, and others. There is something happening and it is that Lagos State Security Trust Fund was created as an interventionist agency. It is our duty to ensure that the equipment that is acquired are put to good use. Also, maintenance and repair of these gadgets alongside training and retraining of the officers is our duty.

We have tried to be visible but we understand that doing this is not cheap. When we approach media organizations to do this on pro bono basis as their contribution to the Lagos State Security Trust Fund but most of them are not willing to do it for free. I am not going to put N100 million into publicity when I know what it can do for the security of Lagos. It is about priority so we know what to do but we are saying that people should come on board to play their part and it doesn’t mean money alone. If you are an influencer on social media, what is so wrong in putting a narrative on the Lagos State Security Trust Fund for your followers to know about us? Like I said, it is in our collective interest.

NAOSNP: Do you have issues with security officers or their agencies diverting resources provided by Lagos State Security Trust Fund?

Abdurrazaq Balogun: This is Lagos, I don’t know about other states but it is not going to happen under my watch that agencies will divert resources that we give to them. It is not possible. I must also use the opportunity to commend our security agencies for being responsible day and night to keeping us safe despite their challenges. How do you have a police officer combat crime without bulletproof vest? It is very easy for us to alienate ourselves but those people go through a lot of hardship trying to protect us.

It is not every security agency that we cater for because we cannot carry the burden. Our books are open. We know how much we earn. We have applied ingenuity here despite the meagre resources that we earn. My staff strength here is 8 people. I can have 30 – 40 people and we continue to pay salaries but it will deplete resources.

We are deliberate. We have a mechanism of monitoring and ensuring that our assets are put to good use. It is also our core responsibility to maintain and repair the fleet. So, I make bold to say that our equipment cannot be diverted. Even when they are old, the security agencies have to bring it back to us for auction. We auction it out to the same officers as a form of incentive to them as introduced during the tenure of Gov. Babatunde Fashola.

I recall that I had a meeting with my colleague, the ES/CEO of the Security Trust Fund in Abuja. I had a long chat with him and I told him, it is not about buying equipment and donating them. If you do that, you will not make progress because that is not where the work is. The work is in ensuring that those things remain on the road. We have had some of our vehicles since 2011 and they are still in our fleet. Some are 2014, 2015 despite the amount of of work they do. Some vehicles we gave last year have covered 55,000km while my car of 6 years is barely 50,000km. It tells you that there is a lot of wear and tear.

There is nothing that we can give our agencies that are extraordinary. We go abroad and see 2 police officers per vehicle but here in Nigeria, people make it feel like it is big deal. There is so much work to be done. We need to deploy technology because we don’t have enough boots on the streets. It is not bad to have an invisible eye in the sky watching all over Lagos. It is available but it costs huge resources so that is why we are saying that no matter what we do, we are only scratching the surface. There is a lot of work to be done and we continue to call on Lagosians to come on board.

NAOSNP: Do you want to sound a note of warning to those citizens who attack our security officers?

Abdurrazaq Balogun: The uniform of a police officer confers authority. For someone to have audacity to slap a police officer with a rifle at hand and that police officer restrained himself, we must commend that police officer. Because even in advanced countries that we talk about, we know how people are being killed on no provocation. We saw the case of George Floyd being knelt on for 9 minutes.

Therefore as a state, we have all surrendered our sovereignty so must comply with the rules and regulations of the state and anybody that flouts the rules should be dealt with heavily to deter others and vice versa for police officers too. We are all stakeholders and so we expect that when you come and you feel the sense of comfort in Lagos, you should know people are behind it. Not only for us in Lagos State Security Trust Fund, look at our hospitals and other sectors. In 2003, we didn’t have more than 7 general hospitals but look at the number of mother-and-child and general hospitals we have today. It tells you something is working and we need to support our government. So, all our billionaires, millionaires and even those who can afford N1000, N2000, little drops make a mighty ocean. We must understand that there is citizens’ responsibility.

What has a traffic light done to you when you are protesting for you to break it down? You didn’t even think that it is money that will be used to replace it. The money could have been used for something else. It is all in our hands to keep our city safe and working. I want to thank our consistent donor corporations – they are not up to 10 out of the thousands of organizations running in Lagos. We know they are doing CSR but we are telling them, to plough some of their CSR into Lagos State Security Trust Fund so that we can all be safe.

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Personality in Focus

Eminent Personalities Present As Barr Ubani Gives Dad Befitting Burial in Abia

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All roads led to Abia state last weekend in celebration of the life and times of Pa Ubani Egbedubi Nwokocha, the late father of respected lawyer, Dr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani who had passed away aged 101 on 3rd January, 2022. It was a carnival-like event for the entire Ikwuano community which trooped out to welcome the hundreds of eminent personalities who visited the town from different parts of the country.

The Christian Wake, Funeral Service, Thanksgiving service and interment turned out to be a massive celebration for the Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL), Dr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani.

He was pleasantly amazed and elated by the huge number of personalities that despised the distance and road network to celebrate with him.

In his letter of condolence earlier, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR extolled the late father, Pa Ubani Egbedubi Nwokocha and prayed for the entire family.

The Senate Chief Whip and former governor of Abia State, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu; Honourable Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Uche Samson Ogah; Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Engr. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji; Ebonyi Guber aspirant, Dr. Ifeanyi Odii; Sen. Nkechi Nwogu; Dr. Chima Anyaso led other politicians to the funeral ceremony.

Also present at the ceremony were clergymen, traditional rulers, and community leaders. Being a member of the Bar himself, Dr. Ubani had Barr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN, among other SANs and many other advocates including Barr. Charles Ajiboye in attendance. Members of the 4th estate and delegate members of the National Association of Online Security News Publishers, NAOSNP led by the National President and Publisher of Trek Africa Newspaper, Comrade Oki Samson also graced the event. Popular gospel artiste, Buchi and other Christian bands were also present to thrill the audience to worship songs in honor of the Giver of Life, Almighty God.

Being an only son, Dr. Monday Ubani could not hide his joy for God giving him life to succeed his father. He reveled with delight, jumped for joy, sang happily, danced freely, and beamed with smiles throughout the celebration. The teeming personalities present also joined him to make merry. It was indeed a life well lived.

Speaking with Members of the National Association of Online Security News Publishers, NAOSNP during the celebration, Honourable Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Dr. Uchechukwu Samson Ogah said that Barrister Monday Ubani is a brother to him and not just a friend. ‘We have come of age together. The death of his father is like the death of my own father, so we are here to give our father a befitting burial. Ubani is affected directly but we that are by the side are equally affected. Anybody consoling Ubani should also console us. We are all connected. I want to ask that as a Christian, Ubani should always believe that on the last day, he will meet again his father because a Christian does not die; a Christian sleeps waiting for the last day when the Lord will come. So we believe Pa Ubani has slept waiting on the arrival of the Lord.’

In the light of the degrading societal values, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development advised parents, ‘People tend to leave their responsibility to government. The integral part of society is family but overtime family values have gone. People are no longer having the values that are expected. We knew the do’s and don’ts when we were growing but it seems over familiarity with Western societies has made us to lose values but we have values and those values must be trained right from the family, church before the general society. We need to look at what we can do to improve the society. We need to go back to the drawing board.

The elites in the society have a role to play, Paul in the Bible said all things are lawful but not all are expedient. There are things you don’t do because you know younger ones are looking at you. I believe everyone has a part to play. We need to talk to our younger ones about a better way to live in the society.’

The Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Engr Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, during his condolence visit, described the deceased as a man who was reputed for his philanthropy, integrity, peaceful disposition and stellar achievements.

“Pa Egbedubi Nwokocha was an honorable man; his dedication and contribution to the service of humanity was remarkable, and his meekness, calm demeanor and benevolence have left an indelible mark in the sands of time. I urge you to take heart and be consoled by the fact that he lived a long and productive life”, the Speaker said.

He prayed God to give the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss and grant the soul of the deceased eternal rest.

Felicitating with the family, Dr. Anthony Ewelike noted: ‘There is nothing that anyone can desire than to have a son that can give you a befitting burial like this at 101. The son ensured that, the father found Christ before he found death. I have known his son, Barr. Ubani himself for more than 40 years.

He is my personal lawyer. He is my friend. He is like a son to me. More importantly, he is a committed, thoroughbred, born again child of God. He is a deacon in the Assemblies of God Church, Ikeja where I worship. We are all here, Pastors and deacons.’

On her part, Sen. Nkechi Nwogu shared: ‘My advice to the family especially Dr. Ubani is for him to take heart. Death is an inevitable end. Papa got up to 101. I want to age healthily and gracefully like him. I want to advice that the thing that had always kept unity, they must not deviate from it and from what Papa has done. My advice to other parents is that we are custodians to our children. We didn’t bring them to earth. The Lord asked us to take care of these children. We will give account.’

Also in attendance, the clergyman in the church that Barr. Ubani attends in Lagos, Rev. Uche Godswill affirmed: ‘Barr. Ubani is a wonderful person. He is my member, friend, brother, and adviser. From all indications, Pa Nwokocha has lived a good life. God has blessed the family. He is the only son but he has given birth to many sons. We pray that God will give them the grace to keep the legacy of goodness and goodwill that the father left.’

A learned colleague, Barr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN prayed for the soul of the departed, ‘May the blessed soul of Pa Ubani rest in peace. He lived an exemplary life, a life that sought after God and I think that is one of the most important aspects of the life that he lived that we should emulate.’

‘We are not here to mourn but to celebrate his life. We are also comforted by the Scripture that says pleasing is the death of the saint. We are commanded by the Scripture that we should not mourn like others. Together with Papa, we will live together in eternity. I condole with the family. There is enough comfort in the Scripture’, he told the family.

Royal fathers present at the ceremony also prayed for the family. HRH Eze Dr. Ndimene remarked: ‘The loss of one person will definitely affect a community, especially an elderly. The most important thing is peace. The family should make sure the peace is kept – the peace that their father left behind.’

HRH Eze Ben from the Ikwuano Council of Traditional Rulers commented: ‘Pa Ubani must have lived a good and decent life. I didn’t know him very well but for the display here, I can say he lived a good life. My advice to the son who is my legal adviser is to be strong and courageous. When Moses died, Joshua was afraid but God came to Joshua in Joshua 1:5,7,9 telling him to be strong and courageous. That is my message to him.’

HRH Eze C. E. Ironsi, Awom II of Umuokoro noted: ‘I don’t know him in person but we have come to condole with the son. We ask the Holy Spirit to take control.’ HRH Eze Engr. Obiziala said: ‘we have come to associate with the family from under the umbrella of Ikwuano traditional rulers. May they enjoy peace.’ Another Eze also at the reception added: ‘I have come here with my friends who know the family. May the Almighty be with his soul’.

Earlier, President of the National Association of Online Security News Publishers, NAOSNP, Comrade Oki Samson, who spoke on behalf of the members of the association during the burial reception, commended Dr. Monday Ubani for his selfless service and contribution to the Nation, philanthropic gestures to the less privileges and giving his father a befitting carnival like burial.

In his appreciation to all present at the funeral ceremony of his father, Dr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani indicated: ‘I must tell you that I am amazed by the large turnout of Nigerians from all walks of life, we have politicians, religious leaders, lawyers, traditional rulers, who have come to commiserate with the family. I am so grateful to God for the number of Nigerians, it was so big.’

‘To God be the glory. it is a lesson to me that whatever you are doing, people are watching. My desire is that I leave a lasting legacy. It is a privilege to do this. I am very grateful’, he concluded.

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Personality in Focus

CSP Adejobi Confirmed As Substantive Force PRO

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The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has confirmed the appointment of CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi as the 25th indigenous Force Public Relations Officer.

A statement by the Admin Officer, Force Headquarters, SP Anjuguri Jesse Manzah, noted that CSP Adejobi was appointed in acting capacity on 16th February, 2022 after taking over from CP Frank Mba who was nominated by the Inspector-General of Police for the Senior Executive Course at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos.

CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi studied Archeology and Geography (Combined Honours) from the Premier University in Nigeria, University of Ibadan. He holds a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the same University. He had a long stint as Police Public Relations Officer in Ogun State Police Command from 2008 -2016. He also served as PPRO Zone 2 Headquarters, Onikan, Lagos, in 2016 and PPRO, Lagos State Police Command between September, 2020 and August, 2021, when he was posted to deputize the former Force PRO, CP Frank Mba. CSP Adejobi has carved a niche for himself in Police Public Relations Management with the experience he has gained serving as PPRO in different Police Commands and Zone for more than a decade.

He has also served as Operations Officer, OC Anti Bank Robbery and Anti Pipeline Vandalization, Sagamu Division from 2006 to 2008; Admin Officer, Department of Operations, Police Headquarters, Ogun State in 2008; Operations Officer, Department of Operations, Lagos State Command Ikeja in 2017; Directing Staff, Police College Ikeja; and as Personal Assistant to The Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Department of Operations, Force Headquarters, Abuja.

He is a member of several professional bodies and associations, which include: Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR); International Public Relations Association (IPRA); Point Man Leadership Institute, USA; International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), USA; Society for Peace Studies and Practice (SPSP); Boys Brigade Nigeria; and the Institute of Corporate Administration, Nigeria.

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Personality in Focus

Executive Order 11: IFMA Boss Hails Buhari

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The President of the International Facility Management Association Nigeria Chapter, Mr. Segun Adebayo, has commended the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on his assent to Executive Order 11 on National Public Buildings Maintenance Policy.

While expressing his delight on the assent, Mr. Adebayo noted that the Executive Order is long overdue and with this action, the professional management and maintenance of the Federal assets is assured and guaranteed.

According to the President, “as we earnestly looking forward to the implementation of the provisions of the new order, through the setting up of maintenance department in MDAs, our Association is committed to collaborating with Federal Government through relevant Ministry to provide required capacity building and knowledge development”

“As an association, we have been advocating the integration of sustainable practices into the built environment and this has started yielding the desired results”

We would also want to appreciate the Honorable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN for this feat because his efforts in the ministry have yielded phenomenal results and it would positively impacts the various projects that this administration has embarked upon.”

The Executive Order states that the Federal Government of Nigeria is committed to establishing a sustained maintenance programme to optimize the enormous investment in public infrastructure. The Government is determined to provide sustainable employment, job opportunities for large, small, and medium-sized businesses, artisans, and persons with vocational skills. Equally, the public assets would be maintained at a minimal cost.

The Department of Federal Public Assets Maintenance will oversee the coordination, implementation, management, and maintenance of federal public assets, facilities, and premises across Nigeria. The agency will conduct maintenance needs assessment, development of maintenance plan, and the necessary procurement.

The agency will monitor the outsourced facility management services of all public buildings and likewise, establish a comprehensive database of all public buildings and facilities. Public buildings will also be modified to accommodate the special needs of persons living with disabilities while ensuring that all buildings would be able to operate at optimal capacity.

IFMA Nigeria is set to celebrate 25 years of impacting the built environment in Nigeria. The Association has always strategically aligned with other institutions in the areas of capacity building; research and development; mentorship and partnership. The current council has engaged both the private and public sector stakeholders to play up the relevance of the profession in the built environment in a complementary way.

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