By Tayo Joseph Lagos, Nigeria
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday presented cheques totaling N55 million to the families of security officers who lost their lives in the Ishawo area of Ikorodu after an ambush unleashed on them by militants.
The families of four police officers that died during the operation got N10 million each, while an officer who sustained injury during the attack and still recuperating in the hospital, Sgt. Alexandra Ugadu got N5million.
Also, a cheque of N10 million was presented to the family of a military officer, Capt. A Mohammed who lost his life during the attack.
The gallant officers were killed after successfully rescuing kidnapped victims kept in the riverine area by the militants.
The police officers’ whose families benefited from the death insurance scheme of the State Government are late Insp. Godwin Iroagbalahi, Insp. Francis Pemi, Sgt. Mamuda Dembo and Sgt. Idor Ekoro.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Governor Ambode said the move was in appreciation of the supreme sacrifices paid by the late officers in the course of ensuring the safety of residents of the State.
The Governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tunji Bello, said the donation was in line with the pledge to review insurance benefits to security operatives in the State.
Bello recalled that since coming on board, Governor Ambode immediately reviewed the insurance benefits for security operatives in the State with a pledge to pay N10million to any officer killed during operation, adding that the ceremony was in consonance with the earlier promise.
“This is to appreciate what the gallant officers have done; they sacrificed their lives in the course of protecting several of us and we have to appreciate them. As a matter of fact, if we don’t do this, who will? The Governor has always said that we must continue to appreciate those who paid the supreme sacrifice for our lives because they died for us.
“We must continue to appreciate them because if we don’t do this, who will be ready to pay the supreme sacrifice for our safety? The officers are sent out to protect us and when they are going, they are not even sure of coming back and having paid the supreme sacrifice, should we leave them just like that, definitely not and it is in appreciation of what they have done that we are doing this,” he said.
The Governor, while commiserating with the families of the late officers, assured that the State Government would continue to support security officers and their families in the State.
Responding on behalf of beneficiaries, the State’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni commended Governor Ambode and the State Government for the donations, which he described as a moral booster, saying that the gesture would go a long way in motivating officers.
He said: “On behalf of the Inspector General of Police, I stand to appreciate Lagos State Government for this morale boosting gesture that you have showed to our colleagues who, in the course of discharging their statutory duties to this nation, demonstrated bravery, gallantry and courage but unfortunately lost their lives in an encounter with criminal elements.
“The IG appreciates this kind gesture and on behalf of the respective families of the officers that lost their lives, in as much as we know that money will not bring their lives back, but you have given us that confidence that in our trial and sadness period, the State is standing solidly behind us. This will spur us to be more committed to the security of the State,” Owoseni said.
Earlier, Governor Ambode, on behalf of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) presented 20 brand new operational vehicles with modern communication gadgets to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the State Police Command.
Executive Secretary of LSSTF, Dr Abdulrazaq Balogun, in his remarks, said the donation of the operational vehicles was in furtherance of the commitment of the State Government to bequeath a robust security architecture to residents, just as he assured that the government would soon donate another round of vehicles to other security agencies in the State.