MOHBAD: ‘Why we used teargas to disperse protesters at Lekki toll gate’ – Police speaks

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The Lagos State Police Command has denied the allegations of using live ammunition on individuals who had assembled at the Lekki Tollgate to mourn and show their sympathy for the late singer, MohBad, on Thursday evening.

There were multiple videos circulating on social media showed numerous individuals fleeing the scene after teargas was deployed into the air.

Some persons were left badly injured and carried to the hospital after the incident.

 

 

Reacting to the development in a statement issued on Friday, the spokesperson for the command, Benjamin Hundeyin asserted that only minimal force was employed to disperse the mourners who had obstructed the Lekki tollgate after participating in the memorial event at Muri Okunola Park.

He mentioned that the police had previously reached an agreement with the organizers of the MohBad procession, stipulating that the Toll Gate would be off-limits.

Hundeyin clarified that when the organizers of the memorial and the police repeatedly urged those who had gathered at the tollgate to disperse, no injuries or fatalities occurred.

Teargas was deployed by the police when these appeals were disregarded.

 

He emphasized that the Commissioner of Police had issued a warning to troublemakers, cautioning that individuals or groups causing disturbances in the state would face arrest and prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.

In relation to the ongoing inquiry into the events surrounding Mohbad’s death, the police called upon the public to refrain from generating unnecessary disruptions and instead grant the command the necessary internal security space to conduct a thorough and prompt investigation.

The statement reads,

“The Lagos State Police Command is fully aware of false narratives making the rounds in relation to the dispersal of crowds at the Lekki Toll Gate yesterday, September 21, 2023.

“It is instructive to note that the Lagos State Police Command had an agreement with the organizers of the candlelight procession that the procession was to end at 8 pm latest and should terminate at Muri Okunola, Victoria Island.

“It was clearly stated for the 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.

“Being a clear violation of the laid down agreement, the Lagos State Police Command invited the procession organizers who came back and joined the officers on ground in persuading the people at the toll gate to disperse peacefully.

“The organizers equally sent out messages on social media asking everyone to go home, clarifying in clear terms that it was not a protest but a procession that had been successfully concluded.

“This persuasion and appeal went on for hours, to which the Police and organizers met defiance, both in words and action.

At this point, all lanes in and out of Lekki had been totally blocked.

Vehicular movement on the ever-busy expressway had been brought to a total standstill, leading to traffic build-up.

“Having gone down this road before, having learned 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.

Not a single live ammunition was fired! The Police adopted crowd management best practices in engaging the unruly crowd.

No life was lost neither was there any injury.

“The Lagos State Police Command also appreciates the procession organizers for keeping faith with the Command and assures all supporters of #justiceforMohbad and Lagosians at large that it will continue to prioritize their safety and security at all times.”