teargas: The Lagos State Police Command has revealed the reason officers of the force fired canisters at some residents at Lekki Tollgate who stormed the location to demand justice and pay tribute to late singer, Ilerioluwa Aloba, professionally known as Mohbad.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Benjamin Hundeyin, described the report as false narrative on Friday.
The candlelight procession organised in honour of Mohbad on Thursday, escalated into chaos following police intervention to disperse the crowd.
According to Hundeyin, organisers of the candle light procession were instructed to end the procession at 8 pm latest and should terminate at Muri Okunola, Victoria Island.
He also narrated that after the procession at Muri Okunola Park, which was conducted under the watch of the police, concerns arose as a group of individuals began to assemble at the Lekki Toll Gate. Their intentions appeared to diverge from the #justiceformohbad initiative.
“It became disconcerting that after the procession duly ended at Muri Okunola park as agreed, with the police providing optimal security all through, some persons started gathering at the Lekki Toll Gate with intent to manifest objectives extraneous to the justiceformohbad initiative,” he narrated.
According to him, officers of the command took action against the breach of the agreed terms by inviting the procession organizers. They subsequently returned to the Lekki Toll Gate and collaborated with law enforcement officers in encouraging the gathered individuals to peacefully disperse.
“Being a clear violation of the laid down agreement, the Lagos State Police Command invited the procession organizers who came back and joined the officers on ground in persuading the people at the toll gate to disperse peacefully.
“The organisers equally sent out messages on social media asking everyone to go home, clarifying in clear terms that it was not a protest but a procession which had been successfully concluded.
“This persuasion and appeal went on for hours, to which the police and organizers met defiance, both in words and action. At this point, all lanes in and out of Lekki had been totally blocked.
“Vehicular movement on the ever-busy expressway had been brought to a total standstill, leading to traffic build up. Having gone down this road before, having learnt from previous similar encounters, and having studied the pattern in the crowd, the red flags and early warning signs of total chaos and anarchy were discernible.”
He added that the police intervened to fulfill the duty of safeguarding lives and property, upholding law and order, and preventing crimes.
He said the officers resorted to the least harmful crowd dispersal method, which is teargas, after verbal persuasion failed. He maintained that no live ammunition was discharged, and crowd management best practices were applied to address the unruly gathering, resulting in no loss of life or injuries.
“Therefore, in fulfillment of our mandate to protect life and property, maintain law and order and prevent crimes, we adopted the least harmful method of crowd dispersal, following the failure of verbal persuasion – the use of teargas. Not a single live ammunition was fired! The police adopted crowd management best practices in engaging the unruly crowd. No life was lost neither was there any injury,” he added.