The Lagos State commissioner of Police, Mr Imohimi Edgal, yesterday said that cultism and uncontrolled access to drugs and arms contributed much to security challenges in the country.
Edgal made the blame during a town hall meeting organised by Area E Police Command in Lagos State, for Amuwo-Odofin, Ojo-Oriade and Iba communities.
The meeting had the theme: ”Policing and Community Partnership: The Communication Imperative”.
The commissioner of police said that the fight against drug abuse should be the responsibility of all.
On crime rate in the state, Edgal said that 513 suspected cultists were arrested from January to June.
“We are having the problems of cultism and drug proliferation, especially among youths.
“It has become so bad that for every 10 young persons, four are involved in cultism and drug abuse.
“From January and June 2018, 435 suspected cult members were charged to court aside those that are currently being investigated,” the police chief said.
He regretted that cultism had extended to neighbourhoods and primary schools.
“Recently, 27 suspected cult members were arrested during initiation at Epe.
“The question is: What are we doing when these boys and girls leave homes for days; no one cares, and we are gradually losing them to drugs.
“We cannot continue like this and bequeath our society to drug users and cultists. We must agree today to chase out these drug peddlers from our society.
“You have to be vigilant and say something when you see something,” he said.
He urged local government chairmen and councillors, and religious leaders to join in the fight to rid the society of drug abuse.
According to him, the fight will be a successful one if there are collective efforts.
He added that the command was meeting with other security agencies and electoral bodies to discuss roles in the 2019 General Elections.
Edgal charged police officers and men to be of good conduct and respect people’s fundamental rights so as to gain their confidence and foster community policing.
“Community policing is based on trust and confidence which can be earned if policing is based on the tenets of democracy and if policemen respect the people’s fundamental rights.
“The command will not tolerate any form of unprofessional conduct.” he said.
Mr Kayode Olawale, a youth leader in Amuwo-Odofin, alleged policemen highhandedness, and urged the police to be more professional in their conduct.
Another participant of the town hall meeting, Mrs Betha Igwe, told Edgal tbat there had been cases of robbery recently under the Alakija Bridge on the Lagos Badagry Expressway.
Mr Yusuf Madaki, also a participant, alleged police harassment of commercial motorcyclists.
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