Monday, November 11, 2013

Police Affairs Minister got that right

Navy Capt. (Rtd) Caleb Olubolade,
Police Affairs Minister

Police Affairs Minister Caleb Olubolade canvassed a point of view I have always reiterated on this blog: You need the public to fight crime.  

Hear the minister in Vanguard’s exclusive Front Page lead report on security challenge in the country today.

“Nobody can secure any community without intelligence. Without information, security agencies cannot succeed because they will be making wrong deployments and will be acting in different directions which will not help. Giving information is all that is needed and the security agencies will overcome.”

The minister should know. He was a Navy Captain.
The question is, 'what is being done to make information available to the forces? What is being done about inter-force cooperation and sharing of resources for crime-fighting?'

A key tool is the Emergency Number. Elsewhere in the world, it is the very first thing the government puts in place for efficient security. When a citizen sees something strange, the next thing is to whip out his phone and alert the police effortlessly and without spending a dime of his phone credit. 

More than a decade after access to phones has been liberalised by the GSM operators, and two years into GEJ’s govt, we still await a national, toll-free emergency number.

Lagos State has had to take its fate in its own hands by flagging off its own Emergency Numbers: 112 and 767. A more universally known number, 911 was apparently added quietly, recently.

But this is a project that is better managed by the Federal Government for uniformity. A single toll-free number should be used across the country. That way, promoting it will be easy, and recall will be much better.

A more serious federal government needs only a few months to make this functional. But a clueless one like we currently have will pussy-foot forever, while precious lives are lost to terrorism and other forms of crime.

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