Imohimi Edgal: Rebranding, battling crime in Lagos
UNEXPECTED circumstances recently forced me to stray into the terrain of Imohimi Edgal, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police but the experience turned out to be rewarding as I got to know more about the police chief and his work. A typical Nigerian doesn’t believe that there is anything good to write about the police based on the activities of some bad eggs within the force. But there are other Nigerians who see everything good in the police.
I know a very prominent Nigerian who speaks well about the police based on his encounter with some police officers on the highway. This man’s car broke down on the highway and he was helpless. But some police officers came around and assisted him to fix the car.
He said he wanted to show appreciation to the officers and so offered them some money, which they bluntly refused to take saying that they were doing their job. The man was stunned and couldn’t believe it. That, in indeed, is how the police relate to the citizens in the developed societies.
Irrespective of whatever impression anybody may have; my position is that without the police, criminals would have overrun all of us but the police keep them at bay to enable us go about our normal daily businesses unmolested.
Ideally, once you have the police around you, you are safe. There are many who would dispute this argument based on their ugly experience. But that does not cancel the police altogether. There are more good police personnel than bad eggs.
A fraudster who duped me had turned around to report me to the police instead of paying back the money. It was astound- ing to me. I had no choice than to report to a higher authority to see to the matter.
That took me to Imohimi Edgal’s office. I had thought that a letter written to the commissioner would take an age to get a response but I was totally wrong.
Within 24-hours, I received a call from Imohimi’s office that my letter has been treated and I was required to show up at his office to give more information. That I did and the matter is being handled appropriately.
The prompt response to my letter prompted me to prod into Imohimi Edgal. Who is this man who is rebranding the police and at the same time combating crime in Lagos?
As I said earlier, before now, I had thought that letters written to the police commissioners (CP) or the Inspector General of Police (IGP) would take donkey years to get a response if at all there is one. But that impression has been erased.
Except one is a crack and fearless police officer, ready to brace the challenge of fighting criminality in all its ramifications, the thought of being posted to Lagos as the police chief could be frightening. The spirit must be willing to carry the body go and confront criminality in Lagos.
The reason is not far-fetched. The cosmopolitan nature of Lagos has made it the centre of attraction for all forms of human endeavours - business, trade, commerce, industry, manufacturing, employment, etc. Lagos is Nigeria’s London, New York, Paris, Tokyo, among others.
Being the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, the good, the bad and the ugly converge in Lagos to seek greener pasture. Nigeria’s greener pasture, if there is one, is found in Lagos. And so, it is not surprising that where the greener pasture is found, there you would find all manner of human beings scrambling for it.
The teeming population in Lagos, over 20 million, is not there by accident. Every sinwilling to cooperate with the police to gle individual in Lagos is busy with one acburst criminal activities in their localities. tivity or the other, whether good or bad. This is already paying off.
It is from this angle that you find an asFor instance, the invasion and demolisortment of criminals, miscreants, hoodtion of the scary Badoo evil shrine in Ikolums, thugs, cultists, ritualists, thieves, rodu was stunning. Mr. Edgal, who led the robbers both armed and unarmed, pickoperation himself, left no one in doubt pockets, one chance, yahoo-yahoo, fraudthat he is out to stamp out criminality in sters, criminal gangs, name it, all Lagos State. operating from different nooks and cranIn February 2018, Edgal’s grassroots partnies of Lagos, using different tricks and nership yielded another dividend when strategies. the police burst about 70 suspected
Given the diversity of crimes, it would recultists in a forest at Elemoro in the Ajah quire, as I said earlier, a crack police chief axis while they were reportedly being inito be able to lead and direct the effort to tiated into the Aiye Confraternity. keep the criminals at bay so that innocent Furthermore, another 256 youths in and law-abiding citizens can go about their Mushin, who had constituted themselves normal daily businesses unmolested by into “terror” gangs were rooted out in a lawless felons. fierce operation launched to sanitise the
It is, therefore, not surprising that the area. Mushin is notorious as a hotbed of best among the best police officers are criminality perpetrated by hoodlums. Folposted to lead the anti-crime battle in Lalowing the invasion by Edgal’s men, the gos. Mr. Imohimi, without doubt, must be residents, who hitherto lived in fear, among the finest in the Nigeria Police heaved a sigh of relief. force, which is why he was deployed to LaBefore Edgal took the baton, kidnapping, gos. which was rare in Lagos, was becoming a
From the moment he was appointed the regular occurrence. Students in boarding Acting Commissioner of Police sometime schools were kidnapped in Ikorodu and in September 2017, he left no one in doubt Epe. Members of the public were alarmed about his preparedness to revolutionise that schools had become soft target for policing while fighting crime. kidnappers. The arrest of the notorious
Beginning from the idea of community kidnap kingpin, “Evans” climaxed Edgal’s policing, which the Lagos State Governanti-crime fighting. ment embraced by establishing the Lagos Evidently, in the past eight months of Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC), to asEdgal’s unwavering and unrelenting sist the police and other security agencies stance against criminality, the police Inwith grassroots information and intellitelligence Response team (IRT), the antigent gathering, Commissioner Edgal bekidnapping squad and other detectives gan by amplifying the concept. have been combing the nooks and cran
He did this by embarking on familiarisanies of Lagos State to snuff out kidnaption tours of the various localities in Lagos pers and sundry criminals with the result State to hold town hall meetings with the that the spate of kidnapping has reduced. people. This endeared him to the people This is not a mean feat. More support and who, from all intents and purposes, are encouragement are needed for Edgal and
his men to prosecute their onerous task.