The Federal Government has deployed policemen and over 150 men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps to the site of the planned protest today tagged #Occupylekkiprotest at the Lekki Tollgate, Lagos Nigeria.
Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Lagos State Police Command, announced on Facebook that CSP Yinka Egbeyemi would be leading a team of police officers on a show of force at the Lekki Tollgate
“Leading a team of police officers on a show of force to Lekki Toll Gate, Obalende, Ikoyi, Jakande Roundabout, and other areas in Eti Osa as part of efforts to deter crime as well as boost the morale of his officers in the areas,” his post read.
Note that men of the Nigerian Police and others were mobilized after Lagos State Government warned protest organisers to back off.
Some defiant youths have, however, vowed to stage the #OccupyLekkiTollGate protest, despite warnings from authorities.
The organisers of the protest are demonstrating against the decision of the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality to reopen the toll gate, which is the venue of indiscriminate killings of some #EndSARS protesters.
The Message From The Nigerian Police
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, told reporters that the police and the state government had already warned protesters against any form of demonstration and their decision must be upheld.
He said, “The panel of enquiry set up by the government to look into this is on and the governor has approved a certain amount of money for compensation. The basis upon which the so-called organisers want to arrange protests again is not known. They misinterpreted the pronouncement of the panel and they have been enlightened. The panel asked LCC to go and assess the Lekki tollgate plaza. It is not to commence operations.”
Muyiwa Adejobi (CSP) also added that no human right is absolute despite acknowledging that Nigerians had the fundamental right to protest.
He said, “We have gathered intelligence and done threat analysis on the proposed protest. We got information that the protest will still be hijacked and cause more mayhem than the previous one. The command is not afraid of anything but we should be able to assess and see beyond our noses. We would not fold arms this time round and allow violence to happen. Every sector was affected during the last violent #EndSARS protests.
“Also, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has declared that the virus in Nigeria has variants which makes it more deadly. How can they gather and still maintain COVID-19 protocols? It is not possible. We have told those who want to listen that the so-called protest is uncalled for and the command has made it known that nobody will be allowed to hold any protest.
“We have warned parents and guardians not to allow anybody to mobilise their children. We are going to resist any violent protest in the state within the ambit of the law. We will be duly professional about our rules of engagement tomorrow (today).”
The PPRO stated that policemen had been mobilised to the tollgate and other parts of the state, noting that “the command will deploy our available resources to make sure there is no breakdown of law and order in Lagos State.”
Asked if the police would arrest the protesters if they defied the command’s order to shelve the protest, he responded vaguely saying, “when we get to the bridge, we are going to cross it.”