As reactions continue to trail the Lagos State Government’s decision to purchase three additional helicopters to combat rising wave of crime and monitor traffic in the metropolis, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Steve Ayorinde, on Wednesday, justified the move.
Ayorinde restated the need for the helicopters in a statement issued by the Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy on Wednesday in Lagos.
Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode had on Oct. 25 hinted of the plan to purchase the helicopters to boost security and surveillance, but the move was described by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as a conduit to embezzle money.
“Now that they want to buy helicopters, what is the cost of running them? They are expensive to run and maintain; the pilots and the crew members have to be paid; at what cost and at whose cost? They want to use it (the procurement) to embezzle money”, the Lagos PDP Chairman, Capt. Tunji Shelle (retd.) was quoted as saying in response to Ambode’s plan to purchase the helicopters.
However, Mr. Ayorinde insisted that the purchase had become necessary to beef up surveillance and ensure security of lives and property of residents.
The commissioner said that the helicopters would complement ground efforts of security operatives in checking crime in the state.
He said that the purchase had also become necessary in view of the precarious security and traffic situation in the state.
Ayorinde said that the state government had painstakingly studied the situation and resolved to unlock the traffic gridlock being experienced by residents with a motivated workforce and modern technology.
He decried attacks on innocent citizens and said the government would not fold its arms and watch them get molested and dispossessed of their valuables in traffic or anywhere.
Ayorinde said every available measure would be adopted to fight crime in the state.
“The 33,000 policemen serving in the state with estimated 21 million people is grossly inadequate, thus necessitating complementary efforts from the government”.
He expressed optimism that the helicopters would go a long way in aiding security and traffic surveillance.
Ayorinde also implored the residents to always alert security operatives of any form of crime noticed within their vicinity, using dedicated and toll free lines 767 and 112.