MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
It was a moment of revelation, testimonies and appreciation on Tuesday at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) of the Lagos State Police Command located at
Musiliu Smith Street (formerly Panti Street), as officers and men of the Department in collaboration with security stakeholders briefed journalists and took them on tour of facilities in the premises.
The SCID which hitherto the contemporary time was notoriously and derogatorily referred to as “Panti” is substantially the investigative arm of the Lagos State Command of the Nigeria Police Force with about nine units created to carry out some specifically assigned functions.
The units include D2 charged with general administration, D3 charged with crime generally, D4 in charge of homicide related matters, D5 in charge of anti-fraud matters, D6 the X-Squad unit that carries out sting operations, and D7 charged with human rights activities.
Other units include D8 which is charged with legal matters and works in collaboration with the State Directorate of Public Prosecution. While D9 handles violent crimes like assassination, murder, D10 is in charge of human trafficking and other sexually related offences.
Addressing journalists before the tour of facilities, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DC) in charge of SCID, Waheed Ayilara expressed appreciation to members of the stakeholders group whom he said have been supportive over the years in the infrastructural upscale of the SCID. According to him, the Department which used to be dreaded by members of the public just like Nigerians ordinarily are afraid of the police without just course, has greatly transformed both in fighting crime with technology and promotion of human right activities.
He noted that while artificial intelligence is fast becoming part of the policing process made possible by technology, the need for human intelligence as a backup could not be over-emphasized.
While appreciating the stakeholders for their unrelenting effort over the years towards supporting the SCID, the DC also expressed appreciation to the incumbent Commissioner of Police in charge of Lagos State, Mr. Idowu Owohunwa whom he described as having massively supported the efforts of SCID leadership to take a pride of place in policing. The DC disclosed that efforts made so far by the past and present leadership of the SCID have made it possible for a forensic laboratory centre to be in place at the department.
Addressing the journalists, the acting chairman of the stakeholders’ forum who would simply address himself as coordinator, Dr. Chima Nnaji; a legal practitioner said “Our effort is to assist the SCID to achieve the noble objective of creating an environment for effective fighting of crime through modern process and through discipline and ethical observation of human rights.
Taking the media men down memory lane, Nnaji disclosed that “We have been in this since the time of Olayinka Balogun, who later retired as a commissioner of police and currently a holder of PhD in Community Policing. As his friends, we came together to support him as the Deputy Commissioner in charge of SCID and many of the monumental assets you see here at SCID were initiated during his time and were improved upon along the line. We have worked with different leaderships of SCID and currently, we are working hand in glove with the incumbent Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge, Waheed Ayilara who himself has almost demonstrated the same qualities that attracted us in the first instance to Olayinka Balogun. Discipline, forthrightness and application to duty were those qualities that attracted us.”
He noted that as a lawyer, who avoids making troubles, he (Nnaji) would ordinarily have no need of the SCID “but because of the way the leaderships I have mentioned have been carrying on their duties, it is important to support the unsung officers and men who daily do their jobs quietly without having to advertise themselves. It is the duty of members of the civil society to appreciate them, not by necessarily giving them money but openly showing love and support to them so that they would know that the society appreciates them in the fight against criminality.
“So, we are trying to do our best to assist the officers and men in the leadership of the SCID to perform their duties in many ways both in infrastructural, ideas and communication. They would also explain things and there is that feed back mechanism which will also filter back so that people should see the police especially officers and men of the SCID not as ghosts or masquerades but as human beings with blood flowing in their veins. So with that, it has been a very rewarding relationship and Lagos State happens to be topnotch among other states of the federation in terms of cracking crimes.
“Many Inspectors General of Police prior to their elevation have passed through the SCID. So I can say that the SCID is the route to becoming the IGP because of the high caliber and quality personnel and the experience they have at the SCID and the way they exercise their judgment in dealing with issues that ordinarily would defy gravity in other locations.”
According to the stakeholders’ coordinator, they are currently about 40 members and if any member of the public wants to join the group, first and foremost, the person would be vetted by the serving members for them to be sure that such a person is not one of those who want to use the SCID to foment trouble outside the location.
“For anyone to become a member of the stakeholders group, he has to be a responsible member of the society. The person must have sustainable means of livelihood, well engaged with something economically viable for sustenance and the person must be very ready to give his time, talent and treasure,’ Nnaji said.
Journalists were conducted round the premises to see the renovation works and upgrading of facilities in the department and there is very glaring evidence that the SCID has recently undergone massive infrastructural and intellectual transformation with prospects for more technologically-driven policing process in the years to come, courtesy of the stakeholders.