The Lagos Police Command on Friday explained that it used teargas to disperse sympathizers during a candlelight procession for the late singer, Ilerioluwa Aloba popularly known as Mohbad at the Lekki Toll Gate to prevent the recurrence of the 2020 EndSARS crisis.
The police spokesperson, Benjamin Hundeyin, posted the explanation on the verified official X page (formerly Twitter) of the Lagos State Police Command on Friday.
Hundeyin said there the organisers of the procession had agreed with the police not to use the Lekki Toll Gate as a point of convergence for the candlelight procession.
He said the agreement was maintained during the procession until some participants breached the agreement and converged there.
The statement read: “It is instructive to note that the Lagos State Police Command had an agreement with the organizers of the candlelight procession that the procession was to end at 8 pm latest and should terminate at Muri Okunola, Victoria Island. It was clearly stated for the avoidance of doubt that in the interest of all Lagosians and considering the heavy use of the Lekki-Epe Expressway, the Lekki Toll Gate would be a no-go area.
“It, however, 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.
“Being a clear violation of the laid down agreement, the Lagos State Police Command invited the procession organisers who came back and joined the officers on the ground in persuading the people at the toll gate to disperse peacefully. The organizers 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 that 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. 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.”
The statement added: “The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, hereby warns mischief makers that any person or group of persons found disturbing the peace of the state, under whatever guise, would be promptly arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.