Police in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub, have hit out at plans to stage fresh protests in the state, saying they will vehemently resist any form of protest as being planned by some groups of people.
In a statement made available to Xinhua on Friday, Hakeem Odumosu, the police chief in Lagos, said no protest would be allowed in any part of the state as the security of lives and property would be paramount.
According to local media, some Nigerians said earlier that they plan to stage fresh protests over plans to reopen the Lekki Toll Gate plaza.
Last Saturday, the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry permitted the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) to take over the tollgates that have been shut since October 2020 after a shooting incident that reportedly killed and injured some people protesting police brutality.
“I wish to warn that the police command will not hesitate to resist any protest with all available resources at its disposal but within the ambit of the law,” Odumosu said.
He said the recent judgment pronounced on the reopening of the Lekki Toll Gate plaza had been misunderstood by the agitators.
“Organizing any protest in furtherance of the recent violent and destructive #EndSARS protest will be counterproductive to the ongoing series of inquiries and investigations into many cases related to the #EndSARS violence,” Odumosu said, using a hashtag used on social media platforms.
SARS refers to Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a police unit accused of rampant brutality.
Odumosu said Lagos, the nation’s economic hub, and the nation at large are still groaning in pain in the aftermath of the last EndSARS# violence that left many lives and property lost.
“It is therefore not reasonable to allow the same to repeat itself in the state,” he said.
The gathering of large crowds is also against measures put in place to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Odumosu said.
Nigeria now has 13 variants of the virus, which makes it more deadly, he said, citing the government Task Force on COVID-19.
“All hands must be on deck to halt the spread of the virus by self-complying with its major protocols which are maintenance of social distance,” Odumosu said.
The #EndSARS protests started in October 2020 but later abated as the government announced the dissolution of the SARS unit and promised deep reform within the police. Enditem