The Nigerian police command refuted the assertions circulating on social media suggesting that protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate were dispersed as an indication of police brutality and human rights abuse.
On Friday, September 22nd, Police PRO Benjamin Hundeyin issued a statement on his X official page, stating that, “The Lagos State Police Command is fully aware of false narratives making the rounds in relation to the dispersal of crowds at the Lekki Toll Gate yesterday, September 21, 2023”.
He further elaborated that the event organizers had reached a mutual understanding with the Lagos State Police Command to conclude the candlelight procession by 8 p.m. at Muri Okunola in Victoria Island.
In addition, he emphasized that this arrangement was made with the welfare of Lagos residents who utilize the Lekki-Epe Expressway in mind, as any prolongation of the event would result in significant traffic congestion.
Benjamin explicitly pointed out that certain participants in the candlelight processions disregarded the agreement established with the Lagos State Police Command and proceeded to the Lekki Toll Gate, where they aimed to create a roadblock as part of their #JusticeforMohbad initiative.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) affirmed that the Lagos Police Command collaborated with the procession organizers to engage with the individuals at the Lekki Toll Gate, urging them to disperse peacefully.
He wrote, “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 which had been successfully concluded”.
Benjamin further explained that the appeals between the organizers and the police extended for several hours, escalating tensions at the Lekki Toll Gate and resulting in a complete standstill of all vehicles.
The police officer recounted the prior incident at the Lekki Toll Gate, highlighting the warning signs of potential chaos and disorder. He emphasized that, as a precautionary measure to safeguard lives and property, tear gas was employed, as it is the least harmful option.
During the event, there was no use of live ammunition, and thankfully, no lives were lost, and no injuries were reported, according to Benjamin.
Furthermore, he conveyed that the Commissioner of Police for Lagos State Command had issued a stern warning that anyone involved in causing unrest or disrupting the peace of the nation would face prosecution.