The Federal Government on Thursday warned those planning a fresh #EndSARS protest at the Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos on Saturday to desist. This is just as the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, declared that the planned protest will not hold on Saturday, February 13, 2020.
Recall that the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing the alleged killing of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki Toll Gate, last Saturday decided to hand over the tollgate back to its operators, Lekki Concession Company, after forensic experts submitted their report on the October 20, 2020 incident.
Subsequently, hashtags such as #OccupyLekkiTollgate and counter-protest hashtags such as #DefendLagos and #DemNoBornYourPapaWell trended online. Both protests are slated for Saturday.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who handed down the warning at a press conference in Abuja, said the government would not allow any further resort to violence in the name of #EndSARS protest.
While admitting that peaceful protests are the constitutional rights of Nigerians, the minister said violent protests are not.
He said the chances that any peaceful protest would be hijacked at this time were very high.
The minister claimed that based on the intelligence at the disposal of the Federal Government, some Nigerian activists have linked up with others outside Nigeria, “including subversive elements,” with a view to destabilising the country, adding that “We cannot and must not allow this to happen.”
Mohammed said, “Any further resort to violence in the name of EndSARS will not be tolerated this time.
“The security agents are ready for any eventuality. A situation in which six soldiers and 37 policemen were murdered in cold blood by hoodlums will not repeat itself.
“The attack, looting and razing of 269 private and public property will not happen again. The killing of 57 civilians will not be re-enacted.
“We therefore strongly warn those who are planning to re-occupy Lekki Toll Gate on Saturday to desist. We know that many of those who have been loudest on social media in advertising the plan to reconvene in Lagos on Saturday are not even in Nigeria. They are elsewhere around the world fanning the embers of violence and inciting gullible people back home. No one should fall for their antics.
“No government anywhere will allow a repeat of the kind of destruction, killing and maiming wrought by the hijackers of EndSars protests last year. After all, only one policeman – (plus four others) – was killed in the invasion of the US Capitol in January, yet the FBI has continued to hunt down and prosecute the perpetrators. No life is more important than the other.”
The Lagos CP on Thursday said, “Allowing both groups to carry out their planned protests will be counter-productive.
“No protest in any guise will be allowed to take place on Saturday 13th February 2021.”