“No Life Was Lost, Neither Was There Any Injury” – Police Speaks On Mohbad’s Candlelight Procession Saga
Personnel of the Lagos State Police Command have dispersed protesters and fans of the late Nigerian singer, Ilerioluwa Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad, with teargas at the Lekki Tollgate during a candlelight procession.
The incident happened on Thursday evening during the candlelight procession organised in honour of the late singer.
The procession was organised by the late singer’s management on Thursday evening. A tribute concert was also scheduled to be held at 8 p.m. at Muri Okunola Park in Lagos.
The candlelight procession was attended by fans, friends and fellow artists.
The singer’s management announced the event on Monday on its X (formerly Twitter) handle, saying, “Join us for Mohbad’s candlelight procession and tribute concert.”
However, a trending video of the incident shows many of the protesters running on the road as the police fired teargas canisters to disperse the crowd, a stark reminder of the tragic event of October 20 when police and soldiers shot peaceful #EndSARS protesters at the tollgate.
Many of them wore white T-shirts.
A popular On-Air Personality, Do2dtun, on his X handle said, “Honesty over Honesty Nigerians do not listen. WE DO THE MOST. This procession ended at Muri Okunola Park over 3 hours ago. We ended and all left. Some still went to converge at the Lekki toll gate. It is not a protest. It is a CANDLELIGHT PROCESSION.”
A statement later issued by the spokesperson for the state police command, Benjamin 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. Not a single live ammunition was fired! The police adopted crowd management best practices in engaging the unruly crowd. No life was lost neither was there any injury.
‘The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, hereby warns mischief makers that any person or group of persons found disturbing the peace of the state, under whatever guise, would be promptly arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“The Lagos State Police Command also appreciates the procession organizers for keeping faith with the Command and assures all supporters of #justiceforMohbad and Lagosians at large that it would continue to prioritize their safety and security at all times.
“Meanwhile, the ongoing investigation into the circumstances leading to the death of Mr Ilerioluwa Aloba is progressing well. The general public are, therefore, requested to avoid creating unnecessary distractions and give the Command the stable internal security space to undertake a conclusive and timeous investigation.
“In this process, it should be noted that the Lagos State Police Command has, as promised, been interfacing closely and regularly with all meaningful support groups of #justiceforMohbad. This synergy shall be sustained while the general public are assured that they would be continually updated on the progress of the investigation.”