By John Ikani
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has made a U-turn on his earlier warning against any gathering or organisation of protest in commemoration of the first anniversary of last year’s #EndSARS protest in the state.
There are reports that young people campaigning against police brutality under the #EndSARS banner, intend to take their protest to the Lekki toll gate, one year after armed soldiers shot into a crowd of peaceful protesters at the location.
The Lagos State Police Command had earlier said that “to forestall breakdown of law and order, the police will use all legitimate means within their constitutional powers to suppress the planned protest.”
However, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, now says: “If you want to protest, it is your right under the law but you don’t have to block the road because, in the process of obstructing the road, you are no longer protesting for a better life for people.
Addressing journalists on Saturday while monitoring the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) State Congress election in Lagos, Odumosu described protests as a right citizens are entitled to.
He added that the state police command would be ready to protect protesters.
What the police commissioner said:
“If you want to protest, it is your right under the law but you don’t have to block the road because, in the process of obstructing the road, you are no longer protesting for a better life for people.
“However, what happens to pregnant women in an emergency, what happens to collapsed buildings, fire incidents when the roads are blocked?
“Don’t forget that this is Lagos, it is the economy of the country and it is equally a working day and you can imagine those lives that earn their living on a daily basis.
“There are some people that cannot feed their families when protesters block the road indefinitely.”