Contrary to the news circulating on the social media space, that the Lagos State Police Force has given permission to #EndSARS protest slated for October 20, 2021 to hold in the State, the Lagos State Police Command, headed by CP. Hakeem Odumosu, has warned against any planned #EndSARS protest, or any other agitation in the State. This, according to the Lagos State Police Command, is to prevent a repeat of October 20, 2020 violence, which led to wanton destruction of lives and properties.
The State’s Police Command has therefore said, in the ‘interest of security and public safety’, no street protest, under any nomenclature, would be allowed to hold in the State on October 20, 2021.
In a press release dated October 19th, 2021, titled, “ENDSARS ANNIVERSARY: NO STREET PROTESTS IN LAGOS”, which was signed by the Lagos State Command Police Public Relations Officer, CSP. Adekunle Ajisebutu (ANIPR), it was clearly stated that,
“To avoid a recurrence of the gory protests of last year, … the police will not abdicate their responsibilities of protection of lives and property, by allowing such avoidable incident happen again in the State.”
While acknowledging that citizens have the right to peaceful protests; the State’s command however, stated that, “the police will only allow an indoor and virtual event in commemoration of the EndSARS anniversary, and will provide adequate security at the venue (s) if known. This is in recognition of rights of every Nigerian to express his or her interest.”
The Press Release, issued by the Lagos State Police Command reads,
19TH OCTOBER, 2021
ENDSARS ANNIVERSARY: NO STREET PROTESTS IN LAGOS
Attention of the Lagos State Police Command has been drawn to a post being circulated on the social media insinuating that the police in Lagos have agreed to allow street protests in commemoration of the one year EndSARS anniversary on 20th October, 2021.
On the contrary, the police will only allow an indoor and virtual event in commemoration of the EndSARS anniversary and will provide adequate security at the venue (s) if known. This is in recognition of rights of every Nigerian to express his or her interest.
We wish we could permit such street protests. However, intelligence at our disposal has revealed plans by some faceless groups or individuals to stage an anti-EndSARS anniversary protest in the state same day.
In view of the conflicting interest between the pro and anti- EndSARS anniversary groups and threat to cause mayhem, the Command once again warns both groups against any form of street protest between now and 20th October, 2021 and beyond.
It is acknowledged that citizens have the right to peaceful protests. However, in this instance having carried out a critical security assessment and intelligence report at the disposal of the Lagos Command in respect of the planned protests and attendant implications on public safety, the Command considers it inappropriate to allow such protests to hold. It will not stand aloof and allow breakdown of law and order which the protests may cause.
To avoid a recurrence of the gory protests of last year during which some innocent Nigerians including police officers were gruesomely murdered, private and public property plundered and maliciously destroyed, the police will not abdicate their responsibilities of protection of lives and property by allowing such avoidable incident happen again in the state
Therefore, in the interest of security and public safety, the Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, wishes to warn the organisers of the protests that the police will deploy all legitimate means to stop or neutralise the planned protests.
Parents, guardians are admonished to warn their children against participating in the protests. Similarly, youths and other individuals or groups planning to take part in the protests are further warned in their own interest to shelve the plan.
CSP ADEKUNLE AJISEBUTU(ANIPR),
POLICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
LAGOS STATE COMMAND