The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko on Monday shocked members of the Lagos State House of Assembly when he confessed that criminals who had been arrested, prosecuted and convicted mysteriously found them ways back into the society even when they have not finished serving their jail terms.
The Commissioner made the disclosure at the floor of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Ikeja, southwest Nigeria, while answering questions from the members on the security challenges in the state.
Manko had been summoned by the Assembly last week in connection with several killings by some gangs allegedly believed to belong to cult groups in various parts of the state especially: Mushin, Lagos Island, Bariga, Somolu, Surulere and Yaba among others.
Just on Friday, a man was hacked to death by a notorious gang in Lagos Island for allegedly blocking their activities.
The police boss without mincing words said, “I can tell you that cultists are now found in garages and parks and some of them are known to members of the society.”
The commissioner noted that the police in the state are being proactive in making sure that crimes are reduced to the barest minimum. He said, “crime is a component of every society however in Lagos we are not only fighting crimes, we are solving crimes.”
However, Manko pointed out that the effort of the police in combating crimes are being frustrated by some highly placed individuals who ensure that those criminals already convicted are released and they move freely in the society.
In his words, “I can tell you that the man that was alleged to have been killed in Bariga, that young man has been sent to prisons for more than five times. My duty as a policeman is to arrest and prosecute, having done that it is rather surprising that these criminals get back to the system, I don’t know.”
He however stated that he has begun the compilation of such criminals so that it would be made available to the public, adding “people would see how frustrating it is to arrest criminals and see them come back to the system.”
While commenting on the issue of Badagry residents who staged a protest march to the Assembly last week over the demolition of their houses, Manko explained that the land in question belongs to the police.
The commissioner said that the police paid N176 million to acquire the land few years back with C of O and that the occupants were given notice to vacate the land as far back as 2011.
He however said that he would plead with the authorities to compensate the people affected by the acquisition due to the intervention of the state Assembly.
On the relationship with border towns, he said that the state command has a good relationship with the Ogun State Police Command with which the state shares many borders as they belong to the same zone and agree on common issues.
He also denied the allegation that his men extort money from okada (motorcycle) riders who operate in legitimate areas in the state, adding that motorocycles seized from those that contravene traffic laws are usually handed over to the state task force on environmental laws.
Manko stated that he did not understand why some heavy duty vehicles operate in the daytime, when the law expects them to operate at night.