Chiemelie Ezeobi and Rebecca Ejifoma
The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Hakeem Odumosu, has dislodged the #EndSARS protesters that lodged in front of State House of Assembly, Alausa, Ikeja.
The protesters, mostly made up of youths, influencers and content creators, had sustained day two of their three-day planned protest against the pernicious actions of operatives of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).
After the second day of the protest during the day, the protesters had pitched their tent in front of the state government house in Alausa as they met the absence of the governor.
According to Convener of OperationSanitize, Savvy Rinu, the Chief of Staff of Lagos State had earlier assured them of paramount security while they set up camp at the State House of Assembly, while promising that the Speaker of the HOA, Mudashiru Obasa might see them tomorrow morning.
At about 9pm, she again took to Twitter to disclose that the CP had dislodged them from the tent and even towed their vehicles.
She tweeted, “I was wrong! The @PoliceNG led by CP Odumosu just towed away our cars and are trying to dislodge us!
“Start tweeting! If we die tonight, we died for a worthless nation! Let it be known that we are currently being harassed by the police. We are in danger, World!”
Reacting to Rinu’s claims, the SSA to the Governor on New Media, Jubril Gawat, said the CP had appealed to the protesters to go home that the governor was on a national assignment but the protesters insisted that they wanted to see the governor, the deputy or the speaker.
On the issue of permission allegedly granted the protesters he said: “Absolutely false. I spoke with the COS few minutes ago. He spoke to them calmly and agreed with the course. He told them to submit a letter of protest.”
Shedding light on why the tents were dislodged, he said, “They won’t allow it there. The error here is that they shouldn’t have allowed the tents to be mounted in the first place. The people can stay but not tents.”
He added that the Lagos State government even created a proper space for protesters because the state knows protest is part of democracy and a right, too.
Clarifying, he said the place created before was directly in front of the assembly gate, but has now been shifted to the big gate by the entrance of the main gate opposite JJT Park gate.
“When GoKada protested back then they blocked the road. I personally went to tell them to stay in the space created and that they have the right to protest but they don’t have the right to disturb motorists from using the road. First, it was tense but they later agreed,” he recalled.
Also reacting, the state Police PRO, SP Olumuyiwa Adejobi said, “I am there presently. They blocked the entrance of the governor’s office with their cars and the likes. I don’t think it should get to that stage.
“They were out yesterday and no one challenged them. Even now they have not been attacked by anyone. The CP and other senior officers are here with me.
“The Lagos State police command will never attack any peaceful protesters within the length and breadth of Lagos State. We love peace and maintain it.”
He however added, “any violent protest will be resisted fully according to the provisions of the law.”
Afterwards, the Speaker Lagos State House of Assembly, Obasa came out to address the protesters given the tense situation that was about to exacerbate.
Countering the Lagos PRO’s allegation of violence on the part of the protesters, ace actor, producer and content creator, Mr. Debo Macaroni, questioned, “Where is this violent protest please? Definitely not where I presently am which is in in front of the Lagos State House of Assembly. Except you are trying to give a background reason for any harm that may come to us…”