By Moses Omorogieva
The Lagos State Government and the Nigeria Police Force are collaborating to rebuild 25 Barracks and facilities that have become dilapidated in the state.
The Force Spokesperson, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, disclosed this on Wednesday in Lagos, while briefing newsmen on the project.
Adejobi said that the project of giving officers and men befitting accommodation, an initiative of the I-GP Usman Baba, had started in some states, where some houses had since been inaugurated.
He said other states in the federation would also have similar projects carried out either by current I-GP or new ones coming.
The force spokesperson said that the Barracks affected in Lagos included Adekunle, Agege, Alausa, Area F, Bar-Beach, Bourdillon, Falomo, Federal Highway Patrol, MTX Highway and Ijeh Police Barracks.
Others are Ijora, SQ MTX Ijora, SQ MTX Iponri, K 9 police Barracks, Kam Salem, SQ MTX McCarthy, Mopol 2 Keffi, Mounted Troops, Obalende Barracks, Police Officers’ Mess Obalende and Women Barracks amongst others.
Adejobi said that officers and men living in the affected barracks listed were requested to vacate their quarters within the next 30 days, starting from Monday May 1, to pave way for seamless demolition and redevelopment of the buildings .
He said there would be census of the residents in barracks, to ascertain genuine officers living in those facilities, stressing that they will be given money to secure accommodation for two years, which the project was expected to last.
Adejobi said that officers would not be asked to vacate their apartments until money was paid to them for new accommodation.
“We have not forced any one out of the barracks. They are expected to move out between May 1 and 30th. They will not be asked to move until their money is paid for a new accommodation,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that I-GP Usman Baba gave marching orders for the evacuation of officers and men in dilapidated structures in Lagos, after the recent collapse of a building at Sango Police Barracks, Ibadan, Oyo State.
In a signal dated April 26 to Zonal and State Police Commands, the I-GP said the barracks rehabilitation became necessary in view of the danger the structures posed to the officers and men.
Baba said the order was to forestall further occurrence of police building collapse and prevent loss of lives and property of police personnel in the barracks.
The Lagos State Government, represented by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Housing, Mrs Oritoke Benson, said some police barracks in Lagos have been “crying” for attention for too long, stressing that the state government decided to approach the Force Headquarters for collaboration in rehabilitating the barracks and facilities.
Benson noted that for many years, there have been yearnings for the reformation of the Force and better welfare for the personnel; adding that she wondered where the welfare should begin if not from a befitting accommodation.
She pointed out that some of the buildings in the Barracks had been marked for demolition by the Lagos State Government officials, as most of the buildings were no longer safe for habitation.
“We looked at various police barracks in Lagos State, we wondered if officers and men actually come out of those buildings. This could affect how they address or respond to citizens in the cause of their duties.
“Some are coming out from buildings that are collapsing. When such officers see people in air conditioned cars, there may be anger that they have been neglected by the state.
“I am glad that the State and Federal Government are yielding to the call for the reform. The police in Lagos and other states deserve better accommodation, better schools for their children, better amenities,” she noted.
Benson said that the state would facilitate all the building plans and approval, assuring that the best structures would be built to avoid building collapse in police barracks in future. (NAN) www.nannews.ng
Edited by Ifeyinwa Omowole