By EMMANUEL UDOM
Third Mainland bridge in Lagos, south-west Nigeria is strategic. It links the Island with the mainland, making it possible for easy movement of people and goods everyday.
This could however be quite hectic and hellish for people and motorists, especially during the heavy traffic periods in the morning from about 7am- 10am and in the evening from about 5pm-8pm each working day.
So, it is the business of the police to ensure that the entire bridge is safe and secured. But, police officers are not magicians. They are human beings like you and I. They are Nigerians in black uniforms, who have vowed to spend the better part of their lives wagging war with criminals.
December is around the corner with all sorts of celebrations. There is an increase in social, economic and other activities. Criminals will certainly want to take advantage of these to want to reap from where they did not sow.
But, in all honesty, from my observations on the third mainland bridge in the last couple of weeks, there is more presence of police officers and other security agents at the ascending and descending points as well as on top of the bridge.
Take it or leave it, the police in Lagos are performing. Before you think I have been paid by the police to write this article, let me tell you here and now that since Manko arrived Lagos from Delta state to take charge of criminal war in the former capital of Nigeria, I not gone to his office for one day.
I am a crime correspondent full-time with Nigerian Compass newspaper. I also write for www.allvoices.com I have writing lots and lots of stories either commending or blasting the police, yet Manko has seen me at parade grounds at the state police command in Ikeja, Lagos. But, he has not met me one-on-one.
Yes, the police in Lagos have moved more officers to the bridge. But, I honestly think, much more officers are needed around under the bridge, especially during odd hours in the night and weekends.
REASONS- From time to time, police officers do raid the third mainland under-bridge and arrest area boys and other potential criminals. It is normal, legitimate and therefore welcome.
But, more police officers should be moved to the ascending and descending points on both sides of the bridge during odd hours and weekends, for these points are closer to the ground.
Area boys and criminals from under the bridge may take advantage of the closeness of these points to the ground to rob people whose cars break-down and quickly escape back into the many Fashola flowers under the third mainland bridge.
Secondly, community policing anywhere in the world is about the police partnering with the people to wage war against criminals in their communities or locality.
Therefore, all the community development associations, youth groups, interest groups, religious groups, non-governmental organizations and vigilante all over Lagos, Nigeria should partner with the police to tackle crime. Yes, this sounds like a public relations statement for the police, but it is the truth.