The Lagos State Government has warned organisers of the #OccupyLekkiTollGate and #DefendLagos protests at the Lekki Toll Plaza on Saturday that their planned action cannot go ahead.
According to the government, “it is not an auspicious moment for such actions”.
The position of the state government was stated at a joint press conference held at the Press Centre on Thursday by Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), Attorney General of Lagos; Gbenga Omotoso, Commissioner for Information and Strategy; and Hakeem Odumosu, Commissioner of Police.
Onigbanjo said the government would not allow any group to push the state, once again, to the edge of carnage. He therefore “strongly advised” those organising the protests to desist.
“The attention of the state government has been drawn to the planned protest scheduled for Saturday February 13, 2021 at the Lekki Toll Gate for and against the opening of the Admiralty Toll Gate. The state is aware of Sections 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which guarantees the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. However, such right does not permit the violation of the rights of other citizens in the state,” he said,
“While the state recognises the importance of exercising the rights to peaceful protests, the same cannot extend to blockage of roads or actions preventing other members of the public from enjoying their fundamental rights to move freely within the state. Any individual or corporate body that incites or condones any act leading to the destruction of public and private properties shall be prosecuted under the extant laws and in addition to any penalty the court might pronounce. Such person or body will be liable to compensate for any damage, which may arise as a result of the action or inaction of such person or body.”
Odumosu added that the security intelligence gathered by the Police Command indicated that the #OccupyLekkiTollGate protest and planned counter rally would degenerate into a breakdown of law and order.
“The Police Command has gathered credible intelligence that some hidden agents of destruction and shadow parties that orchestrated the last EndSARS violence have concluded plans to cause another mayhem in Lagos and spread the same to other parts of the country, tactically and spontaneously, like the recent violence,” he said.
“Premised on the available intelligence and due threat analyses carried out on the planned protest, the Police Command perceives such proposed protest as a calculated attempt to cause pandemonium and massive destruction of lives and properties under whatever guide; such will not be allowed to hold in Lagos.”
Omotoso called for peace, urging the organisers of the planned protests to allow the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry conclude its investigation on what transpired between the military and EndSARS protesters.
“We believe this kind of tension and anxiety being brought forward by the planned protest will not allow the panel to do a thorough job,” he said.
“If the authorities allow the protest and counter rallies to go on, there would be a breakdown of order and Lagos is not ripe for such action. It is on this premise that the State Government is appealing to all parties to thread with caution. Both sides have the right to express their feelings, but the time is wrong.”
Be the first to receive special investigative reports and features in your inbox.