Residents of Ebute Meta (west) community in the Lagos Mainland Local Government of Lagos State have decried the redeployment of the District Police Officer of Iponri police station, CSP Tajudeen Ogunlaja, who they said had curbed incessant cult clashes and armed robbery attacks on residents in the community.
In a letter of complaint dated 17th April 2020 sent to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, zone 2, Onikan, Lagos, AIG Ahmed Iliyasu and jointly signed by head of Otumara Community, High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye and chairmen of the fourteen Community Development Associations in Ebute Meta (west), residents described the redeployment as ill-inspired and called for its reversal.
According to High chief Kalejaiye, Ebute Meta west witnessed incessant inter-street cults fight, armed robbery, rape and series of nefarious activities by men of the underworld but all these disappeared when DPO Ogunlaja was posted to Iponri police station.
He added, “In his one year stay in Ebute Meta (west), DPO Ogunlaja has brought normalcy to our daily lives while incessant robbery attacks and cult clashes became a thing of the past.
What baffles many of us is why he should be taken out of the community in spite of his professionalism, commitment and dedication to the security of lives and property of residents in the community. Following the imposition of lockdown on human and economic activities, crime rate has increased and security operatives are expected to be at the top of their game. Again, why should CSP Ogunlaja be redeployed at a time when insecurity pervade almost all sector of our lives in Ebute Meta (west)? We suspect a foul play and conspiracy be enemies of due process and high ethical standard the police office stands for when he was in charge of Iponri police station.
We therefore appeal to the Lagos state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu to reinstate CSP Ogunlaja for the sake of our collective peace and security in Ebute meta (west) community.”
Also, a political leader in Ebute Meta (west) community, Hon Seun William queried the removal of former Iponri police station while the DPO of Denton police station located in a crime and crisis prone area was retained.
He said, “I don’t really know the whole story but I know that for the short time he had spent, he performed maximally and responded to distress calls. I don’t know the reason he was removed but I can tell you that majority of the community leaders are not happy about his removal especially at this crisis period.
It baffles me. In the Lagos Mainland of Lagos state, there are Ebute Meta East and West. Ebute Meta west has been peaceful while the eastern wing of the LCDA in terms of security is terrible. So why should the Lagos state police command remove the DPO of a peaceful and crime-free district and retained the DPO of an insecure and terrible environment?
I heard yesterday that three cases of COVID-19 were discovered in Oko-baba, east yesterday.
The NCDC were there to take away the patients for further investigation and treatment but the area boys protested and requested for them to be settled before the patients could be taken away.
Unfortunately, this is where the LMLG council chairman resides and the DPO of Denton police station was retained.
This has never and can never happen in Ebute Meta (west). With the assistance of the former DPO of Iponri police station, community leaders were on top of the security situation in West. We are committed to ensuring peace in our community.”
Another resident who doubles as the Chairman of PCRC, Area C command, Rotarian Akibu Bankole which Iponri police station is a part of.
According to Bankole, “When police take any decision, they must have reasons for it. DSP Ogunlaja is very useful to Ebute Meta (west) community. For the past one year he was DPO of Iponri police station, we don’t have much security issue in the community. He really tried his best.
He responded to distress calls swiftly which is why we don’t have much of security crisis. He was on ground and he knows his job but we cannot decide for the police. In terms of securing the community, we will really miss him.”