CP Idowu Owohunwa

CP Idowu Owohunwa

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, today Friday 31st of March 2023, during his inaugural meeting with strategic commanders in Lagos State Police Command, held on the 31st of March, 2023, at Police Officers’ Mess Ikeja, explained in great details steps he will take to ensure that the state is safer.

According to the number one policeman in the state, the immediate challenge facing the state and police is the increasing threat that violent criminals, particularly, cultists were posing to Lagosians.

He said: “Indeed, the activities of cultists have today, evolved to become the most concerning threat to public peace and security in the State and it is expedient that we strengthen our operational strategies and action plans that will address this potent threat.”

Owohunwa, who warned that he would not tolerate armchair Divisional Police Officers and area commanders. He also has a message for cultists and other criminal elements in the state.

While warning cultists and other criminals in Lagos to keep away from the state, the CP said that there was no hiding place for them, unless of course, they voluntarily renounced crime and opt for peaceful and legally permissible means of existence.

Below are his words;

You would recall that I resumed in the State at the peak of preparations for the just concluded General Elections and had to direct my immediate attention to coordinating the Command towards giving effect to our election security operational action plans as well as guiding the electoral process to a successful, secure, peaceful and credible outcome. This task made it practically impossible to kick start my duty tour in the State with a formal interaction with you as customary, until today.

Having successfully put the elections behind us, it has become expedient that we refocus our attention on our traditional policing functions and commonly chart resilient pathways that will advance the attainment of our mandates in a manner that will address the fear of crime amongst all Lagosians. This meeting presents the right and perfect takeoff point for this agenda and the object of the meeting is fourfold.

First, is to keep you all in tune with my policing values, principles, expectations, and broad operational style in our drive to restore police primacy, trust, ethical standards, respect, efficiency, and discipline within the system. In this regard, it is recognized that all of you assembled here today represent the finest and best strategic police managers across all the Departments within the Command Headquarters, fourteen Area Commands, and one hundred and ten Police Divisions in Lagos State. Hence, perfecting the framework to work as a team and present a common front in tackling our policing challenges remains critical. By virtue of this reality, your support, cooperation, understanding, and time-tested and diverse operational experiences remain invaluable to the attainment of my policing vision and plans in Lagos State. The framework for this will be perfected during this meeting.

The Second purpose of this conference is to undertake a postmortem of the just concluded general elections in Lagos State, debrief ourselves on our experiences, and cap up the operation to evaluate our performances and draw lessons that will strengthen our election security governance operations in the future, while the third, is to undertake a comprehensive review of the patterns and trend of crimes in the State, appraise our current policing strategies, and draw on our diverse professional experiences towards evolving new operational strategies and action plans that will stabilize the internal security order in Lagos State sustainably.

In this regard and in line with my leadership strategy that is built on the principle of professional engagement and an all-inclusive and participatory approach, we shall interact, jointly dissect the complex crime dynamics and sundry operational and administrative issues that regulate policing in Lagos State, commonly evaluate the efficacy of our current law enforcement strategies and evolve new action plans that will strengthen the attainment of our policing mandate.

The Presidential and National Assembly Elections as well as the Gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly elections presented some isolated challenges which were fundamentally fueled by fake news purveyors, hate news mongers, political extremists, thugs, and ethnic chauvinists all of whom fraudulently manipulated the social media not only to threaten the electoral process but to create tension and threaten peace and security within the wider polity. It is with a sense of professional fulfillment that I note that the Lagos State Police Command navigated through these challenges to deliver to Lagosians what has been widely acclaimed as the most peaceful, secure, and credible electoral engagement, in comparative terms, in recent history of the State.

 This much was evidenced not just by the exceptional civility with which we policed the peaceful electorates but also, by the professionalism with which we responded to the localized and isolated security breaches that were orchestrated by electoral adversaries and the promptness with which we stabilized the security order without deploying lethal weapons and without causing or recording any citizens’ deaths all through the discharge of our duties in the 2023 General Elections in the State.

 Our exceptional performance was also evidenced by the reality that contrary to the pre-election threat analysis projections which identified Lagos as one of the possible flash States where mass electoral violence was envisioned, Lagos State did not witness any widespread electoral violence nor did the State experience post-election disorder. Indeed, the post-election trend has been that of peace and stability with the Police continuing to dominate the public space in a manner that continues to reassure the citizens and effectively deter ill-intentioned elements.

 Against this, the Police recorded a combined total of fifty-four (54) major incidents across all the thirteen thousand, three hundred and twenty-five (13,325) Polling Units in the State, while a total of forty-five (45) suspects were arrested during the two electoral engagements. Two thousand, eight hundred and seventy (2,870) Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) were recovered during police election security operations from various electoral offenders. Other recovered items include seven  (7) weapons of violence including two (2) firearms, twenty-eight (28) snatched Ballot Boxes, One (1) BVAS machine and One (1) POS Machine being deployed for Vote Buying.

 Out of the cases under investigation, it is also on record that Lagos State was the first Command to conclude the investigation of the first sets of fourteen (14) eight electoral offences and promptly processed eight (8) to INEC for prosecution in line with the Electoral Act and the directives of the Inspector General of Police, while others involving unlawful possession of firearms and sundry criminal acts were charged to courts by the Police. Investigations into the remaining electoral offenses have reached advanced stages and as soon as they are concluded they will be similarly processed for prosecution in furtherance to efforts to sanitise our electoral space and discourage the resort to extra-legal means to attain political ends in future electoral engagements in the State. It must be highlighted that for our prompt efforts, the Lagos State Police Command has received commendations from the Inspector General of Police and local as well and international observers and other segments of the society.

 All these feats are attributable to one key factor, which is the dedication, loyalty, personal sacrifice, strength of character and professionalism which all of you here seated manifested, as well as the strategic leadership that all of you provided for personnel under your commands. Indeed, your exceptional professional performance has attracted the attention of the Inspector General of Police who has directed that his commendation and appreciation be conveyed to you all. For this exceptional performance, I commend you and say a big thank you for making the Inspector General of Police and the Force proud and for justifying why Lagos State Police Command is widely acclaimed as the first among others by all measurable professional standards.

As we now re-direct our attention from the election security functions to our routine policing mandates, the Inspector General of Police and indeed, Lagosians expect us to sustain our sense of service and professionalism towards guaranteeing the safety and security of all citizens in Lagos State.


In this regard, the immediate challenge facing us is the increasing threat that violent criminals, particularly, cultists are posing to Lagosians. Indeed, the activities of cultists have today, evolved to become the most concerning threat to public peace and security in the State and it is expedient that we strengthen our operational strategies and action plans that will address this potent threat.

While the details of our operational approach to this security challenge will form a fundamental part of our discourse, as a starting point the need to strengthen the capacity of Area Commands and Divisional Police Officers to proactively respond to this threat has become imperative.

This approach calls for the deployment of an elitist, highly mobile, well-trained, well-equipped, highly experienced, operationally-tested, and compact Special Operations Police Units to Area Commands where cultism is most prevalent.

The plan will ensure that the unique intelligence assets of the Force are not optimally leveraged on to support our anti-cultism operations, it will be executed in a way as to ensure that the anti-cultism battle is taken right to the doorsteps, hideouts, and safe havens of cultists in such a coordinated and sustainable process until they are unmasked, smoked out, brought to justice and stability restored across the State.

 In furtherance to this plan, the operations of the eight Special Units that are currently centralized under the Office of the Commissioner of Police will either be decentralized, re-organised, re-positioned, or disbanded with personnel in the disbanded or re-organised Units mopped up and re-deployed to Divisional and Area Commands to strengthen their manpower profile, empower them to reinvigorate the anti-cultism warfare and confront other violent crimes that are currently threatening the State at the field level.

 In emplacing this plan, I wish to sound a clear note of warning to so-called cultists and other criminals in Lagos State Area that under my watch, there shall be no hiding place for them, unless of course, they voluntarily renounce crime and opt for peaceful and legally permissible means of existence. Should they remain intransigent, they shall in the coming days, feel the heat of law enforcement and justice.

 To complement this initiative, all Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers are charged to reinvigorate their convoy patrol, intelligence-led operations, and visibility policing that will emphasize the physical deployment of police personnel and operational assets to police the public space. Armchair DPOs or Area Commanders shall not be tolerated. You should all go out to coordinate police operations and supervise your personnel within your Areas of Responsibility.

As we go into the details of our meeting, I wish to once again remind you that my leadership principle rests on discipline, professionalism, compliance with due process, observance of rule of law and respect for the human rights of the citizens. It is also one that is founded on the principle of criminal justice delivery which according to Adams Smiths recognizes that ‘mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent’. In this regard, you must continue to provide leadership that will protect the innocent and manifestly brings the guilty to deserved justice. This is our mandate. This we must manifest if we are to retain the confidence and trust of the Lagosians.

 Above all, you must continually engage the citizens in your jurisdictions and integrate them into your policing activities so as to bridge the trust gap, while resisting the urge of corruption, custodial violence, misuse of authority, or misapplication of lethal assets all of which will widen the trust and partnership gap between us and the citizens and impact on our optimal service delivery. You must be reminded that you will be held vicariously liable for these professional breaches if recorded under your command.

 To Lagosians, I wish to once again re-assure of our firm commitment to continue to police them in a manner that will be civil enough to protect the law-abiding, but potent enough to bring the deviants that are threatening our common values to justice in the swiftest, rule of law-guided and transparent manner. They should, therefore, go about their normal businesses and ignore the elements that are attempting to inflame post-election passion with intent to pitch citizens against each other. While we continue to work assiduously to guarantee peace and order within the public space, we solicit the citizens’ cooperation as we cannot attain this all alone. We also wish to firmly warm all agents of destabilization as well as purveyors of fake news and hate speeches to desist, henceforth, for common good as the Command’s cybercrime capacity is being enhanced to identify, apprehend, and prosecute such elements within the dictates of extant laws.

 On this note, I thank you all for your resilience and professional diligence and look forward to your cooperation and loyalty as we commit to policing Lagos State.



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