Operatives of the Lagos State Police Command and soldiers from 81 Division Nigerian Army were on Monday deployed in strategic areas of the state to enforce the ban placed on the second wave of #EndSARS protests.
Although the planned protest failed to hold, THISDAY checks revealed the presence of armed security operatives, especially at black spots and known volatile areas.
The deployment of the military and police personnel was a follow-up to the warning issued on Sunday by the state command Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, who warned that any gathering or procession with an undertone of #EndSARS remained banned.
Odumosu alleged that the second wave of the protest was sponsored by “some unpatriotic individuals and groups.”
On the heels of the warning issued by Odumosu, the Ogun State Police Command also banned protest in the state, warning prospective protesters to desist from such action or face the full wrath of the law.
A statement by the command spokesperson, Mr. Abimbola Oyeyemi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said while the command recognises that it is the right of citizens to protest to express their grievances over issues of governance, “there is, however, nothing at present that calls for such a protest in the gateway state, except for those who see troublemaking as a lucrative business.”
The army said the deployment of soldiers were nothing out of the ordinary but in continuation of their normal routine patrols.
The acting Deputy Director, 81 Division Army Public Relations, Major Olaniyi Osoba, denied claims that soldiers were deployed in Lekki Tollgate to abort the proposed protest.
He said: “We have soldiers in that axis on their routine patrol but they are not at Lekki Tollgate. Besides, the soldiers you saw were drawn from Operation MESA.”
He, however, noted that the army would show up if they are called upon like they did during the first wave of the protest.
The police also debunked allegations that a protest was held at Lekki Tollgate despite the ban.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Olumuyiwa Adejobi, a Superintendent of Police (SP), said the viral but fake video of the purported protest was circulated to create tension and destabilise the security network put in place.
He said: “The command wishes to debunk the fake video that has been circulated to create tension and destabilise security network in the state.
“The video was one of the viral videos released during the recent violent EndSARS protest before the Lekki Tollgate plaza was set ablaze by the violent protesters on October 21, 2020.
“The command, therefore, urges the general public to regard the video as baseless and mischievous.”
The Cross River State Police Command also warned the public against participating in any fresh #EndSARS protest.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Ms. Irene Ugbo (DSP), said Monday that the warning became necessary because “there were plans by some unscrupulous individuals or groups of persons to embark on another destructive and fierce #ENDSARS protest.”
The statement said the police had actionable intelligence that certain individuals or groups had concluded plans to entice innocent citizens, especially youths, into their planned protest.
It warned those who might want to hide under #EndSARS protest to spark what the police described as another catastrophic impact with intent to cause chaos in the state to refrain from such a venture.
The sabre-rattling, however, did not stop protesters from marching on Osogbo, the Osun State capital, to demand good governance.
The protesters, under the auspices of Face of #EndSARS Movement, converged on Ogo-Oluwa area of the state and marched on the state House of Assembly where they demanded an audience with the leadership of the house.
The protesters, led by a man identified as Mr. Emmanuel Adebisi, bore different placards with inscriptions such as: “We are not fighting for any political party; #End Bad Judiciary in Nigeria; #End fake judicial panel of Inquiry in Osun; Unfreeze all the frozen accounts; We are Nigerian youths.”
The protesters called for the release of all detainees arrested during the demonstrations in October and also asked the CBN to unfreeze the accounts of protesters.