Mohbad: Police speaks on dispersal of crowd at Lekki Toll Gate
The Lagos State Police Command has explained why it dispersal of the crowd at Lekki Toll Gate on Thursday during the candlelight procession of the late musician, Ilerioluwa Aloba known as Mohbad.
The Lagos Police spokesperson, Benjamin Hundeyin, in a statement on Friday, said there had been false narratives making the rounds in relation to the dispersal of the crowd who attended the event.
“It is instructive to note that the Lagos State Police Command had an agreement with the organizers of the candle light procession that it was to end at 8pm latest and should terminate at Muri Okunola, Victoria Island,” Hundeyin said.
“It was clearly stated for 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.”
Hundeyin said with that being a clear violation of the laid down agreement, the Police invited the procession organizers who came back and joined the officers on ground in persuading the people at the toll gate to disperse peacefully.
He stated that the organisers equally sent out messages on social media asking everyone to go home.
According to him, the organisers had also clarified in clear terms that it was not a protest but a procession which had been successfully concluded.
Hundeyin added that this persuasion and appeal went on for hours, to which the police and organisers met defiance, both in words and action.
“At this point, all lanes in and out of Lekki had been totally blocked,” Hundeyin said.
“Vehicular movement on the ever-busy expressway had also 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.”
He stated that not a single live ammunition was fired as the police adopted crowd management best practices in engaging the crowd. He added that no life was lost neither was there any injury.
“The Commissioner of Police in Lagos has hereby warned 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,” Hundeyin said.
“The Police 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 Mohbad is progressing well.”
He urged the public to avoid creating unnecessary distractions and give the Police the stable internal security space to undertake a conclusive and timeous investigation.
Hundeyin stated that in this process, the Police has, as promised, been interfacing closely and regularly with all meaningful support groups of #justiceforMohbad.
He also said that this synergy shall be sustained while the general public is assured that they would be continually updated on the progress of the investigation.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.