Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Nigeria’s Edo state is puzzled by the scanty presence of police patrol vehicles in the state, even though his government had bought over 110 vehicles for the police.
He raised the concern at a special meeting he held with traditional rulers in the state, and revealed that he had asked the acting commissioner of police in the state to present the vehicles for an audit.
“In Edo we have given out over 110 vehicles for patrol but when I go out I don’t see them. I have asked the acting Commissioner of Police to make the vehicles available for a physical audit.
“We cannot accept a situation where the vehicles provided for security in the state are diverted for private use or even taken outside the state for other purposes.
“We will need to go beyond throwing money at the security agencies and find out how they have managed the ones we have given to them,’’ he added.
The governor who several months ago opposed the advocacy for state police, proposed that the vigilante groups in the state be armed to tackle security challenges.
`We have to revisit the issue of the vigilante groups carrying weapons to complement the security agencies in our communities.
He also urged the traditional rulers to appeal to the Federal authorities to fund the police adequately.
The meeting with traditional rulers was also used by the governor to unfold his plans for the coming year, topmost of which were a planned security summit and a town hall meeting on how to get the Local Government Administration deliver more dividends of democracy to the people.
The government blueprint is contained in a statement signed by Oshiomhole’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Peter Okhiria, on Sunday in Benin.
It quoted the governor as saying that the construction of the Central Hospital Benin, which suffered a little setback in the outgoing year, would be completed and equipped with modern facilities.
Oshiomhole at the meeting said, “we need your support to revisit the local governments to make them work for the people.
“We have to bring a change to the local government administration to bring government closer to the people. In a democracy, the only thing that is constant is change, we cannot continue like this at the local government.
“` We cannot have local governments that are there to pay salaries alone,” he noted.
The governor, who expressed dismay over the activities of the local governments said among other reforms to be carried out, was the trimming down of wasteful expenditure.
He said that funds would be diverted for capital projects such as the building of markets in the respective local governments
“I will seek your support to restore sanity in our public life. We have to carry out major reforms across the state and we will need to be more firm,’’ he stressed.
On the proposed security summit, Oshiomhole said that it would involve all stakeholders in the state.
He said that with the contributions from the summit, the state government would be able to deal with the security challenges in the state reducing them to the minimal level.
On agriculture, the governor said: “In the first term of the administration, we focused on infrastructure, which we are going to sustain.
“We are now going to focus on agriculture and the emphasis this time is to attract businesses into the state.
“We will sustain the current projects and accelerate the pace of work to the extent our resources permit.
“We are expecting more investment in the state that is why we have to manage our land judiciously and make the land accessible to genuine investors.