Why we dispersed Mohbad’s sympathisers with teargas at Lekki – Police

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The Lagos state police command has said it dispersed sympathizers who gathered to mourn the death of late singer, Ilerioluwa Aloba also known as Mohbad at the Lekki Toll Gate to forestall the recurrence of the EndSARS saga.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, and made available on the verified page of the Lago State Police X (formerly Twitter) page on Friday.

According to the statement, there was agreement between the police and the organizers of the procession not to use the Lekki Toll Gate as a point of gathering which was adhered to during the procession but some persons later violated by gathering there.

Hundeyin noted that efforts made to persuade the sympathizers who gathered at the Lekki Toll Gate by the police and the organizers did not yield any result which forced the police to disperse them with teargas to protect lives and properties within the area.

The statement read in part, “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 police spokesperson also said that the command will not tolerate any person or group that may want to use the opportunity of Mohbad’s death to disturb the peace of the state while assuring regular updates will be made available on the investigation ongoing to unravel the circumstances behind the death of Mohbad.

“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.

“The Lagos State Police Command also appreciates the procession organizers for keeping faith with the Command and assures all supporters of #justiceforMohbad and Lagosians at large that it would continue to prioritize their safety and security at all times.

“Meanwhile, the ongoing investigation into the circumstances leading to the death of Mr Ilerioluwa Aloba is progressing well. The general public are, therefore, requested to avoid creating unnecessary distractions and give the Command the stable internal security space to undertake a conclusive and timeous investigation.

“In this process, it should be noted that the Lagos State Police Command has, as promised, been interfacing closely and regularly with all meaningful support groups of #justiceforMohbad. This synergy shall be sustained while the general public are assured that they will be continually updated on the progress of the investigation”, the statement concluded.

Protesters and fans of the late Nigerian singer, Ilerioluwa Aloba known as Mohbad, were on Thursday night allegedly dispersed with teargas at the Lekki Tollgate, Lagos State.

The protesters held a candlelight procession in honour of the late singer on Thursday.