Police officers and their families are to be given a new lease of life, as brand new barracks to accommodate them, their spouses and children are expected to be built in the next two years in Lagos State.
Expectations are high that the project would be seen to fruition if assurances by stakeholders saddled with constructing the shelters hit the ground running and walk the talk.
This would be a reality as soon as 25 distressed barracks no longer habitable are demolished and the shelters renovated to modern standard.
The regeneration project, which is a collaboration by the Nigeria Police Force and the Lagos State Government is to bequeath befitting modern accommodation facilities to the officers.
The structures to be completed within stipulated years, couldn’t have come at a better time, when efforts to stem the tide of building collapse by the state government is tackled headlong.
Mrs. Toke Benson-Awoyinka, Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Housing, said that the State government approached the Nigeria Police Force so that the barracks in Lagos State have the befitting presence that all real estate in Lagos State is taking.
According to her, “In 2020, there was a yearning for reforms and provisions for the Police in Lagos and all over Nigeria. Some of the things that where said at that time was the welfare of police officers.
She asked, “Where would welfare begin if not in their houses? We looked at those places and we wondered if men actually come out of those buildings, how they would address us on the streets. So, an angry man comes out of the building that is almost collapsing?
“And when he comes to your air-conditioned car, there is nothing to show to you other than anger. We have neglected our duties in the State and Federal Government and I’m glad to say that the State and the Federal Government, the Nigeria Police Force are now partnering to heed that yearnings of our people that the Police officers in Lagos and over Nigeria deserve better accommodations. They deserve places where you and I come out of every morning, they deserve to send their children to schools like the schools that we send our children to. We expect that when the Police are planning all these schools, sports facilities, parade grounds, they should be something that will be befitting of the Nigeria Police.
She appreciated the Inspector General Police, Usman Alkali Baba and the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for putting heads together and making sure that the housing project happen.
On behalf of the state Government, she assured of facilitating all the planning work, all the building approvals and ensuring that all the right thing is done and make sure there are no collapses anymore in Lagos.
She added, “We are embarrassed as the government when a building collapses, it takes away from what we stand for, as the Centre of Excellence and we will make sure that in this process the Nigeria Police is protected. The Lagos State Government comes out with a good faith and we will give our men and women of the Force, a befitting place, homes to live in, the children will be well taken care of as a government, as a state we are passionate as to what happens in our state and that is why we have taken the initiative.
The Force Public Relations Officer CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, explained at the press briefing to sensitise the public and affected officers on notions that police officers were being evicted from their barracks on Wednesday.
The Spokesperson said the proposed project is basically Police project and the essence is to improve the standard of living of all barracks holistically across board.
He said, “We are owning it and thinking outside the box of how we would get the money.”
He stressed that the Force Public Relations Officer’s Annex is to be affected by the construction.
For the project, the spokesperson stated that it is working with the Force various departments and units to know those who are bonafide personnel of the Force that live in its barracks.
According to him, there are some barracks in Lagos housing those who are not Lagos service officers and non police personnel residing in some of the barracks. “We are going to do census for officers, we are going to audit these barracks, so when dealing with people, we will know we are dealing with our genuine officers, not any squatter.
He hinted that when the barracks are built, the Police will ensure that police rules are enforced to discourage individuals who are illegal occupants or persons more than 18 years living in the barracks, as he noted that such ones are being accommodated in deviant of police rules on barracks by some of officers because of accomodations problem.
“Because we are not actually having the formal system of checkmating and enforcing barracks rules, we are trying to rejuvenate this system of having provost, Sergeant Majors in all our barracks, we will make sure we follow the rules, they maintain sanity in the barracks, they maintain decorum in barracks, we are going to inject modern ideas, we are going to enforce barracks laws to the fullest, so that when you get to barracks you will see neatness, you will see dignity and see the ambiance and people will know that officers are there, not what we see now.”
“For construction to take place, the officers will have to vacate their barracks, but assured that’s after they have been given money to secure a temporary shelter.He informed,
“This officers will be given money to rent apartment for the period of two years in their locations.
He cited that if barracks at Falomo is to be demolished, officers who are working and staying in Falomo would be paid to get an apartment in the location.“
Whatever the amount is, the Police will pay, the Force Spokesperson boasted.