…As Assembly wants his intervention on seizure of farm products
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday welcomed Operation Crocodile Smile IV by the Nigerian Army, saying the exercise is a right move towards ensuring peace and security in the South West and South South regions during the festive season.
The Governor assured the Nigerian Army of his administration’s continued support as it engages in intensive security duties in the state while also urging citizens to be security conscious.
Sanwo-Olu stated this during the flag-off ceremony of the Nigeria Army’s 81 Division Exercise Crocodile Smile IV for Lagos and Ogun States held at Takwa Bay, Lagos.
The Governor who was represented at the ceremony by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, commended the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai for his thoughtfulness and strategic foresight, which brought about the idea of the exercise.
The Governor said: “from antecedents, the security issues prevalent in the yuletide are not lost on any of us as men of the underworld tend to perpetrate criminal acts during this period,” adding that Exercise Crocodile Smile IV is a welcome development that promises to ensure that these black heads of the society have no safe haven within the period.
‘‘We cannot thank you enough for your efforts and sacrifices”, Sanwo-Olu commended the army for their resilience and determination towards providing security in Lagos State and other states across the country including the federal capital territory.’’ he said.
While seeking the support for security operatives, the governor urged citizens to be security conscious and remain vigilant by being alive to activities in their environment.
He also advised residents to “see something and say something. The Police and other security personnel are not magicians and they don’t look at oracle, they listen to information. It is for all of us to conduct ourselves and just be our neighbours’ keeper.’’ Sanwo-Olu stated.
He further affirmed that beaches around Lagos, which are a beehive of activities, will remain safe with such security activities as the one planned and executed by the Nigerian army.
In his remarks, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Buratai who was represented by the General Officer, Commanding 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Major-General John Irefin disclosed that the Exercise Crocodile Smile IV was part of the Nigerian Army’s continuous commitment to combating security challenges in the country such as illegal oil bunkering activities, militancy, kidnapping, pipeline vandalism; cultism and some other common sundry crime.
He added that the objectives of the operation are to reduce to the barest minimum the prevailing security threat in the riverine environment and sharpen the professional skills of security personnel that are involved in the exercise.
Buratai noted that the exercise would be intelligence-driven and will portray real time operation at any moment a potent threat is encountered.
In another development, the State House of Assembly on Tuesday condemned the continuous seizure of farm products from Badagry border community by officials of the Nigeria Customs Service and other security agents.
The House, therefore, passed a motion calling on Governor Sanwo-Olu to organise stakeholders meeting between the Customs and business owners of the confiscated goods.
The House also asked the Governor to direct the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Lola Akande, to organise the meeting between the Customs and business owners affected by the seizure.
The resolution of the House followed a motion moved by Hon Setonji David, representing Constituency Badagry II, over the confiscation of farm products by the Customs officers in the area.
The motion was to call on Comptroller General of Customs, Hammed Ali, to direct his men to stop further harassment of coconut sellers within Badagry and its environs.
He said his people were passing through hell with the continuous harassment of members of Lagos State Coconut Sellers and Traders Association by Customs officials in Badagry.
The lawmaker said the Comptroller should direct coordinator, Border Drill Operations Team, Zone A Ikeja, to immediately release the seized two trucks and pickup load of 1,450 bags of locally sourced coconut.
“On the 27 October, two trucks and a pick-up car load of 1450 bags of locally sourced coconut on transit was seized by the men of Nigeria Customs Border Drill Operations Zone A Ikeja.
“The seizure took place at the Agbara Customs Point, after it had left the popular Agbalata Central Coconut Market beside the Customs base in Badagry.
Commenting, the Deputy Speaker, Hon Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, representing Constituency Lagos Island I, said the activities of Customs in Badagry was condemnable and overzealousness on it part.
He said the action of the service could discourage the local farmers from performing their legitimate work in the area.
Also, Hon Olayiwola Olawale, representing Constituency Mushin II, also rose to support the prime mover of the motion, sympathizing with the affected residents.
Olawale said he was worrisome because the seizure products were not contraband products.
Hon Ajani Owolabi, representing Lagos Mainland I, urged relevant authorities to access the locally products from the foreign products that had been restricted from coming into the country.
On his part, the Majority Leader, Hon Sanai Agunbiade, representing Constituency Ikorodu I, said the activities of the Customs were affecting the farmers in the area.
Agunbiade said the way people were being harassed shows that something was wrong between the Customs and the business owners of farm products in the area.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House directs the Clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni, to communicate the resolution of the House to the governor for further action on the issue.
For a better society