The Lagos State Police Command has verified that its officers, on Thursday, used teargas to scatter a gathering of fans of the deceased artist Ilerioluwa Olademeji Aloba, known as Mohbad, at the Lekki tollgate.
This information was disclosed on the official page of the Lagos State Police Command’s account on X, formerly Twitter, signed by SP Benjamin Hundeyin, Lagos police Public Relations Officer.
The candlelight procession, which was arranged to pay tribute to the late Mohbad, attracted numerous fans, friends, and fellow musicians, however, it descended into disorder when the police endeavoured to scatter the gathering.
The Lagos State Police Command’s statement acknowledges its awareness of the “false narratives” circulating regarding the handling of crowd dispersal at the Lekki Toll Gate on September 21, 2023.
It read “The Lagos State Police Command had an agreement with the organisers of the candle light procession that the procession was to end at 8pm latest and should terminate at Muri Okunola, Victoria Island.”
They made this explicit to eliminate any confusion that, with the well-being of all Lagos residents in mind and recognizing the significant use of the Lekki-Epe Expressway, the Lekki Toll Gate would be off-limits.
It also stated, “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.
“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 authorities also indicated that both law enforcement and the event organisers had previously attempted to encourage a peaceful dispersal of the newly gathered crowd at the Lekki Toll Gate before deployment of the teargas.
“The organisers 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,” the statement read.
The Command stated that the current inquiry into the events surrounding the musician’s death is making good progress, and they kindly ask the public not to generate unnecessary disruptions, to provide the authorities with a peaceful environment to conduct a thorough and timely investigation.
Additionally, there would be an ongoing effort to maintain a collaborative synergy with significant support groups that are backing the #justiceforMohbad initiative while the general public “would be continually updated on the progress of the investigation.”
The police issued a caution to “mischief makers”, emphasising that anyone or any group causing disruptions in the state, regardless of their pretext, would face swift apprehension and would be subjected to the full legal consequences.