As part of efforts to bridge the communication gap and strengthen the relationship between law enforcement personnel and young people in the State, the Lagos State Government[LASG] has organised an interactive forum for Police Officers and Youths.
Speaking at the forum with the theme: “Strengthening Police and Youth Relationship in Lagos State”, the State Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Olusegun Dawodu, said the programme became necessary following the noticeable discord between both groups.
He explained that the interactive session was organised to mend the mistrust between the police and youths and restore confidence among these important groups in society.
Dawodu said: “Most young people have oftentimes complained of having been denied their basic rights such as the right to live, freedom of movement, speech, association and expression by the actions of the law enforcement agents, especially Police Officers”.
He also explained that young people are sometimes labelled troublemakers when their strength and energy are not channelled to positive use, hence, making the law enforcement officers often see young people as a problem to be solved.
Describing the youths as very pivotal to achieving the Greater Lagos vision, the Commissioner stressed that the Police Force is one of the critical bedrocks in the community for ensuring that lives and property of the citizens are protected from dubious and criminally-minded individuals.
He emphasised that there is a need for cordial and long-lasting relationships between both parties to ensure a crime-free Lagos, where youths can also contribute their quota to the development of the State and country without any form of molestation or harassment.
Dawodu, however, stressed that young people in the state have a collective responsibility to obey and uphold law and order by shunning crime and violence in all forms while imploring both parties to build a better understanding and strengthen their relationship towards the development of Lagos State.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary for Youth and Social Development, Dr. Olugbemiga Aina, noted that the gathering was an opportunity for the youths and police to discuss their differences and grievances amicably for an improved security situation and prevention of future face-off.
Dr. Aina, represented by the Director of Youth, Mr. Olufemi Adetoye, stated further that the platform will avail the Police Command the opportunity to explain its operations and principles to the youths, enlighten them on what constitutes criminality, establish an effective communication channel and clear all doubts about its integrity and effectiveness.
In his remark, the Commissioner for Police, Hakeem Odumosu, disclosed that the Police Force has continued to organise various training and workshops to upskill officers in order to discharge their duties diligently, as well as interact better with members of the public.
He pointed out that the Force has always been engaging the youths through social media interaction, while also sensitising them on the need to be security conscious as part of efforts to create a better relationship with the citizens and ensure a crime-free environment.
The Guest Speaker and Team Lead of Edgeforth Business Solutions, Mr. Sheriff Adekoya, advised the Police to intensify communal engagement and collaborate with influential youths in neighbourhoods as part of measures to effectively discharge their duties.
He also urged youths to be empathetic, super friendly, intelligent, respectful and well-dressed, while avoiding subjective sentiments during their interactions with the men and women of the Nigeria Police Force.
Other discussants at the forum, including members of the Lagos Police Command and influential youths in the State, advised that both parties should have respect for each other and relate with mutual trust.