The Lagos State commissioner of police, Hakeem Odumosu, has said the officers would resist any form of protest in the state in commemoration of one year after the #EndSARS protest.
This is contained in a statement released on Monday by Adekunle Ajisebutu, the Lagos police spokesperson.
“Credible intelligence at the disposal of the Command has revealed clandestine plans by some youths, individuals or groups to embark on protest today in commemoration of one year anniversary of ENDSARS,” the statement read.
The police said Lagosians cannot afford to relive the “distasteful experience” of last year’s protests which, he said, “caused pain, anguish, needless loss of lives and wanton destruction of public and private properties”.
“In view of the volatility of the present situations in the country, and the breakdown of law and order which the planned protest might cause, the Lagos State Police Command sternly warns against any form of protest today,” the police commissioner said.
The #EndSARS protests, which held between October 8 and 20 last year, was a public outcry for an end to police brutality, extrajudicial killings, extortion and abuse of power, especially by officers of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The protest, which started off peacefully, led to the disbandment of SARS by the federal government of Nigeria.
The protest, however, turned violent as hoodlums took advantage of the situation, burnt police stations, public facilities and carried out attacks on officers and citizens.
The protest was brought to a halt on October 20 when officers of the Nigerian Army shot at the protesters, killing and injuring some of the mostly youth protesters.
Reacting to fresh plans by youth and groups to commemorate the one year anniversary of the #EndSARS protest, the police commissioner urged the groups to shelve the idea.
Despite that the right to peaceful assembly and right to protest is a constitutional right of Nigerians, the police have continued to clamp down on protesters.
Mr Odumosu “warns the youths, groups, or associations planning protest to jettison the idea forthwith,” saying that the police in the state will not fold their arms and allow some misguided elements disrupt the peace and serenity currently being enjoyed in the state.
“To forestall breakdown of law and order, the police will use all legitimate means within their constitutional powers to suppress the planned protest.
“Therefore, parents and guardians are advised to warn their children against participating in the planned protest. Individuals or groups sponsoring such protest are also warned in their own interest to desist from such unpatriotic plan or face the full weight or wrath of the law.”
Mr Odumosu urged law-abiding residents of the state to go about their legitimate businesses without fear of harassment or intimidation, adding that additional security measures have been put in place to ensure protection of their lives and property today and even beyond.