Police authorities in Lagos have explained why operatives fired a tear gas canister at the Lekki tollgate area of the state.
This occurred on Wednesday while youths and celebrities were holding a memorial car procession in hounor of victims of police brutality, and to commemorate the one year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests that led to the disbandment of the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police.
In an interview ,the Commissioner of Police in Lagos, Hakeem Odumosu, said the police did not disperse the youths taking part in the procession.
Rather, he stated that the security operatives fired tear gas to disperse those he described as miscreants at the venue.
“We did not fire canister to disperse protesters,” he told Channels Television at the venue of the parade. “If you have your recording, you will know the type of the canister that we fired and if you go back, you will see the period that they (the organisers) posted – it was between 8am and 10am.
“Secondly, we agreed that they need to move in vehicles, not on foot. They can blare their horns, they can wave their flags, they can display their posters, no problem.
“But they are not to be on foot, and we agreed that they won’t come down from their vehicle to address anybody; that is where people will start coming in and converging.”
The police commissioner insisted that the police only used minimum force to disperse miscreants, and not the youths participating in the memorial procession.
He explained that he had a discussion with the organisers on the venue and time for the parade, saying that became necessary for the police to provide adequate security for them.
Odumosu said after 10am, he called the organisers who he said informed him that the procession had ended, and participants had returned to their various destinations.
He stressed that those arrested were miscreants and some of them were armed with weapons to cause mayhem at the venue.
“We arrested someone with a machete, is that a protester? That is evidence to us that miscreants have infiltrated them,” said the police commissioner.
“Those people that gather now are on foot, they are the miscreants that infiltrated them; not those that came with their vehicles. We did not drag anybody out of the car. We did not arrest anybody that is known to be a protester.”