The Lagos State Police Command has said that it used teargas as the least harmful means to disperse a crowd that gathered to protest the death of musician, Mohbad, at the popular Lekki Toll Gate after persuasion failed.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Lagos, SP Benjamin Hundeyin said this in a Friday statement.
Hundeyin said, “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 candle light procession that the procession was to end at 8pm latest and should terminate at Muri Okunola, Victoria Island.
“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.
“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 which 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 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.”
Hundeyin stated that no single live ammunition was fired to disperse the crowd.
According to him, the police adopted crowd management best practices in engaging the “unruly” crowd.
“No life was lost neither was there any injury,” the police spokesman claimed.