By Kazeem Ugbodaga
The Lagos State Police Command has warned operators of night clubs, beaches, hotels, bars, lounges, among others in the State to henceforth put internal security measures in place to discourage drug abuse, drug peddling and other criminal activities in their establishments in the overall best interest of their businesses and security of the State.
Speaking at the weekend during a meeting with stakeholders in the hospitality industry at the Command Headquarters in Ikeja, the State’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Imohimi Edgal said intelligence report indicated that there was increase in drug abuse among youths and minors, and that such was dangerous to efforts of the State Government to promote the night economy of the State.
He said through the efforts of the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, there had been many initiatives and programmes geared toward ensuring a 24-hour economy for the State, and that despite the successes recorded in recent time, there were grey areas which must be jointly tackled by both police and operators in line with his principle of community policing and security partnership.
He said: “One of such areas is the issue of drug peddling, drug use and abuse. Intelligence report at my disposal reveals that there is increased drug peddling, drug abuse in most of our night clubs, lounges, beaches and so on across the State. Young men and women freely use narcotic substances at times in the seating areas, at times more hidden in the toilet areas of our clubs, lounges, hotels to the knowledge of the operators but they are doing nothing about it. This is wrong.
“The scourge of drugs and its attendant effect not only health wise on the young population but also that sheer fact that there is a very clear correlation between drug and crime is something that should make every responsible Lagosian worried. The ease with which our youths are getting access to drugs at clubs, lounges, beaches and so on is worrisome and our meeting here today is to send a very strong signal to operators that it is not going to be business as usual.”
The CP said it had also been observed that some hotels in the State now give rooms to minors and also sell alcoholic drinks to them, while under-aged girls were also being allowed to use such establishments for prostitution, saying that such was very criminal and capable of leading to crimes.
“In addition, we also have the issue of criminals hibernating and having save haven in all our beaches, hotels, clubs, lounges these days. The last intelligence report I received indicates that young men now move around these establishments armed. This is very dangerous for the security of the State. We have it on good authority that some of these establishments are used as meeting points to plan crimes before they execute,” Edgal said.
He said in as much as the police have the capacity to arrest any operator found aiding such, but that he was engaging the stakeholders in line with the principle of community policing and security partnership to tackle the menace frontally, while any operator found culpable would henceforth be arrested, shamed and prosecuted in accordance with the law.
Going forward, the CP said it was compulsory for operators to now install basic security gadgets such as CCTV cameras and metal box detectors, among others to cover their establishments.
The CP also set up a 10-man Committee headed by the Managing Director of Farm City Lounge in Lekki, Mr Lanre Carew to come up with a comprehensive blueprint on how to strengthen security in the hospitality industry, especially how to put a stop to drug peddling and use as well as armed bandits gaining access to the establishments to plan crimes.
The Committee, whose members are drawn from across the State, has two weeks to submit its report.