Lagos State, Nigeria – September 23, 2023 – The Lagos State Police Command has issued a statement explaining the circumstances surrounding the use of tear gas to disperse crowds at the Lekki Toll Gate during the candlelight procession for Mohbad on September 21, 2023.
In a press release by SP Benjamin Hundeyin, the Police Public Relations Officer for the Lagos State Command, it was emphasized that the police had reached an agreement with the organizers of the procession that it would conclude by 8:00 pm and terminate at Muri Okunola Park in Victoria Island. This decision was made considering the heavy traffic on the Lekki-Epe Expressway, and it was explicitly stated that the Lekki Toll Gate would not be part of the procession route.
However, after the procession ended at Muri Okunola Park as agreed upon, some individuals began gathering at the Lekki Toll Gate with intentions that appeared unrelated to the #justiceforMohbad initiative. This was considered a breach of the agreement, and the Police Command engaged the organizers to persuade the crowd to disperse peacefully. The organizers also used social media to urge participants to go home and clarified that the event was not a protest but a procession that had already concluded.
Despite these efforts, some in the crowd defied the pleas from both the police and the organizers, causing a complete blockade of all lanes in and out of Lekki, resulting in a severe traffic jam on the expressway.
Considering past experiences and the signs of potential chaos, the police decided to use tear gas as a crowd dispersal method, as verbal persuasion had failed. Importantly, no live ammunition was fired, and no casualties or injuries were reported.
The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, issued a stern warning to those who disrupt the peace of the state, stating that they would be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The Lagos State Police Command expressed appreciation to the procession organizers for cooperating with the police and assured supporters of #justiceforMohbad and all Lagosians of their commitment to prioritize safety and security.
The ongoing investigation into the death of Mr. Ilerioluwa Aloba is reported to be progressing well, and the public is urged not to create unnecessary distractions that could hinder the investigation’s progress. The Police Command also affirmed its commitment to regularly update the public on the investigation’s developments.
SP Benjamin Hundeyin concluded the statement by assuring that the Lagos State Police Command would maintain close communication with support groups for #justiceforMohbad while appealing for cooperation from the general public.