The Police Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command, Benjamin Hundeyin, has explained why tear gas was shot at the #EndSARS memorial procession by men of the Nigerian Police Force, which took place at the Lekki toll-gate, on Thursday.
Hundeyin explained in an interview on Channels TV that the procession had stopped and traffic was building at the toll-gate. He said the police had to fire tear gas to disperse the crowd in order to relieve traffic at the spot.
The procession was organised to mark the second anniversary of the lives lost during the #EndSARS protest of Octobor 20, 2020, were security forces allegedly shot at unarmed, peaceful protesters who converged at the toll-gate.
Recall that The PUNCH had earlier reported that the police mentioned that as long as the procession did not stop there would not be problems, adding that the agreement was that the protesters would keep moving.
Hundeyin said some trouble makers wanted to breech the peace so the police swung into action.
He said, “Everything was going fine until they stopped and started laying the coffins on the ground and all. They were doing all these and traffic at the toll gate was building.
“We needed to ensure that there was free flow of traffic in the area, because the agreement was that the procession would not stop, that was why we fired tear gas. After the crowd was dispersed, no single canister of tear gas was fired again.
“Right now there is free flow of traffic in the area and calm has been restored.”
When the PPRO was asked about the protesters that were locked up in the black maria truck he said they had all been released.
He said, “Some trouble makers wanted to breech the peace in the area so they were picked up and locked up in the van. But after everything had calmed down and the protesters dispersed they were all released. I can confirm that we have no one in our custody at the toll-gate now.”