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‘Only Indoor Events Allowed’ — Police Warn against #EndSARS Protest in Lagos

Hakeem Odumosu, Lagos commissioner of police, says the command will deploy “legitimate means” to stop the planned protest to commemorate the first anniversary of #EndSARS.

In October 2020, Nigerian youths took to the streets in some parts of the country to protest against the now-disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

To commemorate the first anniversary of the movement, youths have planned a series of activities, including protests at some strategic places across the country.

In a statement signed by Adekunle Ajisebutu on Tuesday, the Lagos police command said it has intelligence that some “faceless groups” are planning an anti-EndSARS protest on the same day.

The command said it would only allow indoor and virtual events, adding that security will the provided at such venues.

“Attention of the Lagos state police command has been drawn to a post being circulated on the social media insinuating that the police in Lagos have agreed to allow street protests in commemoration of the one year EndSARS anniversary on 20th October 2021,” the statement reads.

“On the contrary, the police will only allow an indoor and virtual event in commemoration of the EndSARS anniversary and will provide adequate security at the venue(s) if known. This is in recognition of the rights of every Nigerian to express his or her interest.

“We wish we could permit such street protests. However, intelligence at our disposal has revealed plans by some faceless groups or individuals to stage an anti-EndSARS anniversary protest in the state on, same day.

“In view of the conflicting interest between the pro and anti- EndSARS anniversary groups and threat to cause mayhem, the Command once again warns both groups against any form of street protest between now and 20th October 2021 and beyond.

“It is acknowledged that citizens have the right to peaceful protests. However, in this instance having carried out a critical security assessment and intelligence report at the disposal of the Lagos command in respect of the planned protests and attendant implications on public safety.

“To avoid a recurrence of the gory protests of last year during which some innocent Nigerians including police officers were gruesomely murdered, private and public property plundered and maliciously destroyed, the police will not abdicate their responsibilities of protection of lives and property by allowing such avoidable incident happen again in the state

“Therefore, in the interest of security and public safety, the Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, wishes to warn the organizers of the protests that the police will deploy all legitimate means to stop or neutralize the planned protests.”