Lagos State Commissioner of Police Hakeem Odumosu has warned that no rally, under whatever guise, will be allowed to hold in the state. He, therefore, warned Sunday Igboho and Banji Akintoye to stay away from the state.
Odumosu, who addressed reporters Thursday, warned the agitators and their followers against staging the planned July 3rd rally as anyone caught participating or facilitating the rally would be dealt with within the ambit of the law.
According to Odumosu, intelligence shows that some disgruntled elements have perfected plans to infiltrate the protesters and cause more mayhem. He added that information had gotten to the knowledge of the command that the organisers’ foot-soldiers and mobilisers have concluded plans to embark on procession on the streets of Lagos as part of programmes for the mega rally.
He said: “It has come to the knowledge of the command that the rally, arranged to hold at Gani Fawehimi Freedom Park in Ojota, Lagos, has been planned by some other yet-to-be identified groups to simultaneously hold at Lekki Toll Gate, Ikoyi, Iyana-Ipaja, Ikeja, Surulere, Ikorodu and other areas. This, if allowed, could be a fatal ground for anarchy.
“Intelligence also reveals that one Elewe-Omo, a transport union leader in Ibadan, Oyo State, has perfected plans to attack organisers of the rally as a reprisal for the death of one of his followers allegedly killed by one of Igboho’s group.
“The cumulative effect of all these is a threat to law and order. The command will not watch and allow disgruntled elements truncate the peace being enjoyed in the state.
“Lagos State cannot afford to experience any security lapses, breakdown of law and order, and threat to public peace at the moment, considering the negative effects and reoccurring agonies of the October 2020 #Endsars crisis that led to massive destruction of public and private facilities, and some police personnel paying the supreme price. This is in addition to many police stations, barracks, officers’ personal properties that were burnt.
“The command is still going through those harrowing experiences, and it will not be cajoled by the so-called organisers that the rally will be peaceful. That was the same slogan adopted by organisers of the #Endsars protest which eventually snowballed into crises with attendant destruction of lives and properties.
“The police will not submit to their antics. Recall that on June 12, there was a rumored stay-at-home order purported to have been issued by a group, which was immediately debunked by the command.
“On this note, the command reaffirms that on no account will any actual or rumored activity, including the said planned mega rally, be allowed to lockdown the state or hinder the people’s daily activities.
“The command hereby appeals to the people, especially Lagosians, to shun the rally, while parents and guardians are urged to discourage their children and wards from participating therein.”
Odumosu urged the people to go about their normal daily activities as the police and other security agencies have put measures in place to provide adequate and water-tight security for all.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy Gbenga Omotoso said the while the government was not against rallies in a democratic setting, the state ‘is not ripe for any rally to take place now’.
He noted that the state is still smarting from the negative impacts of the #EndSARS protests and would not allow any repeat of such tragic incident in the state.
He said: “I implore all those who are organising the rally to please take note that nobody is saying they shouldn’t hold a rally or protest, nobody is saying you shouldn’t march, but the timing is not right.
“Lagos is still feeling the pains of the last October #EndSARS protests that started peacefully and ended in violence, violence on a scale that we have never witnessed before, one that was beyond belief.
“So this is why we have come here today, to let you know that Lagos is not against this rally but, at this point in time, anybody who has the intention to join the rally should shelve it in the interest of the public and the state. The scare of #EndSars is still visible, and we advise the organisers to shelve it because the law will take its course. The government of Lagos is not against rally; we are democrats. People have the right to protest, but we are saying it is not good for us at this time.”