Every year, Nigerians of the Christian faith go on pilgrimage to Israel. This year, about twenty thousand Nigerians are expected to make the trip
This was not the case with the trio of Ndudi Osakwe, Patrick Keku and Unuigbe Irheren. They traveled to Israel on a different mission. The reason for their visit was to attend a conference on Safe City Solutions held in Tel Aviv, Israel, November 30 to December 1, 2009.
Safe City has been defined to be a city that implements the simplest norms necessary for a quiet, safe life, free of concern about personal security.
The vision of a safe city is that of a city free of street urchins, violence, sale of alcoholic products in motor parks, hawking of pornographic materials on highways and street corners.
It is a city whose residents cooperate and respond to every violation of the norm as established by the government, a city that responds quickly to robberies, youth at risk, dysfunctional families. A safe city contributes to effective education of the preschoolers for the first five years or more in order to prevent the formation of social vices. This is a tall order in Nigeria.
Most Nigerian cities are homes to frustrated youths, poor families and those whose high expectations of the city environment have failed. Several affected persons have ended up as school drop-outs, street urchins, prostitutes, armed robbers, internet fraudsters, hard drug users and drunkards etc. These issues demand immediate remedy from the government
While doing that, a discerning government notes that increasingly, cities and urban regions compete with other places for attention, investment, visitors, shoppers, talent, events, and the like. With globalisation, competition is no longer limited to the capital and big cities as it now directly affects all cities and concentrations of urban settlements, near and far, within and outside of the country.
Given the above context, safe city has become one of the critical indices in the choice of where to live, invest or do business. Infact, safe city provides the prerequisite for city growth and success, increasing business opportunities and a basis for a high standard of living for residents and visitors.
Lagos Adopts Safe City Norms
Imagine a city in which state-of-the-art sensors detect thieves trying to break into a home, cameras record the license plate number of a car trying to rob a bank, and experienced switchboard operators handle every resident request online. This is not a city in another planet but a safe city whose policies is now implemented in many cities around the world.
The conference was declared open by Tzipi Livni, former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister with the Nigerian Ambassador to Israel, Mr. Olisa Dada in attendance.It kicked off with a well attended gala dinner and display of Israeli folklores and songs. However, the highpoint of the conference was on the second day when the best minds in Homeland Security matters from around the world delivered several papers on ensuring a safe city.
Technology solutions that enable emergency response units, law enforcement agencies and private security companies to reduce urban violence, fight crime and prevent threats were on display.
It was indeed the journey of ‘three wise men’ on a mission to the Holy land.