By Odita Sunday Charity Foundation
August 4, 2020
In Biblical parlance, there is a common saying that “the age of Methuselah has nothing to do with the Wisdom of Solomon.” Literarily, this connotes the fact that achievement in any sphere of life is not necessarily a function of one’s age but rather, extra-ordinary gift or grace from God to excel in certain areas of life. However, such gift or grace does not on its own turn things around if no act is put in motion to actuate it. This clearly explains the case of Olayinka Egbeyemi; a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) who is currently the Chairman,Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit popularly known as ‘Task Force’.
Born on August 4 in the early 1970’s in Agege Lagos, Egbeyemi hails from Owu Abeokuta in Ogun State. He started his educational career in 1976 at Kaps Day Nursery and Primary School, Capitol Road, Agege and African Church Central Primary School Agege for his Primary School education and later proceeded to Anwar-Ul-Islam College, Agege (formerly Ahmadiya College) between 1985-1991.
With a strong penchant for intellectual things, he got admitted into Ondo State University (now Ekiti State University), Ado Ekiti, to study Philosophy. He graduated with honours and was posted to Akwa Ibom State for the compulsory one year National Youths Service Corps scheme. Few years later, he enrolled at the Lagos State University where he obtained a Masters Degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies.
Upon graduation, Egbeyemi worked briefly as a Registrar of Cooperatives with the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture & Cooperatives between 2000 – 2002; before he got enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force. Between August 15, 2002 and February 2004, he was at the Nigeria Police Academy (POLAC), Kano where he trained as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP).
He began his police career at Aguda Police Station, Surulere Lagos in 2004 as Traffic Officer, and since then, he had gone on many postings including being Admin Officer at Elere Divisional Police Station, Agege, Crime Officer 1 at Alausa Divisional Police Station, Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Command, Personal Assistant and Later, Officer-in-charge, DC Secretariat, State CID, Panti, Yaba, Lagos, Staff Officer to Inspector General of Police IGP Mike Okiro, Unit Commander Mopol 20, Ikeja Lagos and ADC to Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State. He was Area Crime Officer at Area G Command, Ogba in 2014. At various times, he was the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Mosafejo Station, Oshodi, Lagos, DPO Aguda-Surulere, DPO Ilupeju Police Division and DPO, Sango-Ota Police Station in Ogun State.
Since his enlistment in the police and during the various deployments at different times, he has attended several courses, both at home and abroad. Such courses include Peace Support Operation and Anti-Terrorist Course at the Prestigious Centre of Excellence for Stability Police Unit (COESPU) in Italy, Combat craft operation at Gwoza, Borno State. Leadership and Citizenship Training at Shere Hills, Jos Plateau State, Ad-Hoc duties with Joint Task Force in Potiskum, Yobe State and Kano State in 2012 and 2014 respectively.
In 2018, he attended the Galilee International Management Institute, Israel where he obtained a Diploma in ‘National Security’ December same year. He also participated at the South West Regional Security Management Course (SWRSMC) put together by the Nigeria Defence Academy and the Office of the Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Security and intelligence.
He is a member of International Association of Chiefs of Police and has attended the IACP Conferences at Philadelphia, Florida and Chicago in the United States of America.
Ostensibly due to his excellent performance in the various places he had worked and being worthy of the various positions held so far, in addition to the knowledge acquired over the years from several training programmes, the then Executive Governor of Lagos State; Akinwumi Ambode in March 2016, on the recommendation of the police management; appointed Egbemi the Chairman of the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit (Task Force).
Prior to his appointment as the Task Force Chairman, Egbeyemi as the DPO in charge of Ilupeju Police Division in 2015 had led his team to foil a robbery attempt and arrested one of the suspects who belonged to a gang of robbers who specialized in robbing cash-in-transit vans in Lagos. The sum of 118,000 United States Dollars and 50,000 British Pounds reportedly stolen from a bullion van belonging to Bankers Warehouse were recovered when one of the suspects; Bolaji Oyekanmi led Egbeyemi and his team to the home of a native doctor where the money was hidden at Mushin area of Lagos. The money which belonged to the Bankers Warehouse was immediately handed over to the owner by the DPO on the orders of the Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni. For that exemplary act, the Management of Bankers Warehouse was all grateful to Egbeyemi and his team. He was highly commended.
One of the things that marveled the Bankers was the fact that the total amount reportedly stolen by the robbers was intact when Egbeyemi handed it over to them. Nothing was removed in spite of the fact that he and his men had the opportunity to tamper with the mouth watering hard currencies.
In December of the same year, under his leadership, some operatives of the Task Force recovered the sum of N5million that fell from a moving bullion van. The N5million cash which was reportedly stashed in a sack; had fallen off from the bullion van along Lagos State House of Assembly Complex Road in Alausa, Ikeja unnoticed. Two police officers attached to the Task Force had recovered the money not far from their headquarters in Alausa.
The two police men, Sergeant Ogunbiyi Agbabu and Inspector Eheziekia Abiona had disclosed how the sack containing the money fell off from the bullion van, the identity of which was not immediately known to them as it sped off. There is no doubt of the fact that the two police men could have as well concealed the recovery since the bullion van driver and other occupants were not immediately aware of the incident, but perhaps with some benefit of experience from their boss who as DPO Ilupeju had similarly returned recovered cash to their owners (Bankers Warehouse) earlier in the year, the choice was theirs to remain men of honour. The two policemen were eventually honoured by the Lagos State Government when owners of the money eventually emerged.
As the DPO in charge of Aguda Police Division, Egbeyemi fought crime to a standstill such that the mention of his name was a ‘bad news’ to criminals in the area as he was always ready to pursue them to their last bus-stop.
From records, it is evident that prior to his appointment as the Task Force Chairman, Lagos as the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria had witnessed a near collapse of its environmental management affairs as street traders and other low profile residents could easily convert any space to a market irrespective of what the law says about street trading and other environmental activities. Miscreants were also having a field day.
However; building on the earlier achievements of his predecessors who managed the “Kick Against Indiscipline’ (KAI) outfit which was a fore-runner to the Environmental Sanitation Task Force, in Lagos State, Egbeyemi has steadily contended with the challenges associated with managing the metropolitan Lagos with such astuteness that clearly defines his assignment and the mission of the State Government to turn Lagos into a mega city that can compare to other world commercial capitals if not in every sphere, but in terms of environmental cleanliness.
He has ensured that illegal trading that constitutes clog in vehicular movement on Lagos roads are curbed by arresting recalcitrant traders and hawkers who defy existing law on street trading. Similarly, he has not relented in giving attention to the complaints by members of the public on the activities of miscreants who constantly raid business areas both in Victoria Isand area of Lagos and the mainland.
As part of the Lagos State Government mission to elevate the status of Lagos as a city, the presence and activities of roadside mechanics, commercial motor-cycle riders, illegal traders, social miscreants and other violators of the state law on environmental sanitation have continued to pose a serious challenge to the government as their activities had presented a negative image to tourists visiting certain places in the state.
Sometime in 2019, The Task Force operatives under the leadership of Egbeyemi had arrested about 28 social miscreants who were constituting nuisance and a breach of peace in the Central Business District, Ikeja around the Afrika Shrine. Activities of the miscreants had presented a very poor image of the Lagos environment to the tourists who had visited the Shrine. This was because the miscreants were indulging in the sale of hard drugs like tramadol, codeine, skunk, weed, illegally mixed liquor and all sorts of consumables and non-consumable items freely on the free in defiance of extant laws.
Ordinarily, a pedestrian thinker may want to see government in bad light whenever occasions call for drastic measures to checkmate environmental law violations. One can therefore, imagine the enormity of burden on the Task Force leader to cope with the assignment of his employers and public sentiments. Egbeyemi, as the Task Force chairman is therefore unarguably sitting on a hot seat as the challenges associated with his position call for balancing of interests. On one hand he has to carry out his assignment according instructions of his employers and on the other hand, not trying to offend gravely the interest of members of the public who often do not hesitate to draw the attention of civil society groups to what they call abuse of their human rights especially given the over-zealous manner a few Task Force officials carry out their activities.
As a leader, Egbeyemi has tried to guide his officials especially the field officers on how best to carry out their activities in the most humane manner such that even when an offender is charged to court, there should not be any ground for the officials to be accused of abuse of powers. This is especially so, as occasions often call for them to clear Lagos road of illegal traders whose activities usually obstruct free flow of traffic in certain areas.
Clearing of such obstructions become more imperative at those parts of the city where road repair or construction works call for diversion of traffic. Task Force officials, occasionally in collaboration with other security agencies have the burden of ensuring that roadside traders and other pedestrian hawkers that run after moving vehicles; do not constitute nuisance to easy flow of traffic. This is a challenge Egbeyemi as the Task Force Chairman, must contend with, at all times most especially during the festive periods when the volume of traffic increases as many people go out to make purchases .
As a law enforcement officer who is guided by the principles of the Rule of Law, Egbeyemi may have had a few accusations coming his way due to the careless or over-zealous tendencies of some Task Force field operatives, yet he is largely absolved of any serious breach of the rights of suspected violators of environmental law as his office does not play any adjudicatory role but rather enforcement/prosecutorial in line with the extant laws on environmental sanitation in Lagos.
This is clearly evident in the fact that given the peculiar nature of Lagos, his survival in office as the boss of the Task Force for this long period of five years since he assumed office could only be possible through commitment to duty in line with the prevailing laws, rules and regulations spelt out for him before assumption of office.
It is very much on this note, that this writer has chosen to celebrate CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi on this occasion of his birthday (August4, 2020) as a police officer whose audaciousness in the performance of his official duties is latched on the principles of the Rule of Law. His commitment to duty remains evident and Lagos State would be the better for it in spite of the penchant of some malevolent elements to rubbish the intentions of government to make Lagos a mega city it ought to be.
ODITA SUNDAY CHARITY FOUNDATION is a humanitarian group with the sole aim to add values to lives, prevent and reduce sufferings and to preserve human dignity.
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