Lagos State Police Commissioner Hakeem Odumosu has condemned the maltreatment meted out to 40 persons arrested for their alleged involvement in #OccupyLekkiTollgate protest on Saturday.
The suspects, including popular comedian Debo Adebayo (Mr. Macaroni), were arrested separately and allegedly stripped of their clothing, beaten and sandwiched in a van by policemen who taunted them before they were eventually charged to court.
Images of the ill-treatment, which surfaced on the social media, generated wide criticisms against the police.
Many Nigerians wondered why the protesters were treated like criminals.
Reacting to the footages, Odumosu, in a statement by the command’s spokesman Olumuyiwa Adejobi, ordered immediate investigation and identification of the culprits.
“The attention of the Lagos State Police Command has been drawn to a viral video where some arrested ‘EndsSARS protesters’ were being molested in a bus by some individuals after their arrest.
“The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, who was piqued by this unprofessional and inhuman act, has ordered the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State CID, Panti, DCP Adegoke Fayoade, to analyze the video and bring to book whoever that must have been responsible for the act.
“Odumosu reiterates that in as much the command is resolute in enforcing all laws in the state, it will not deviate from the Standard Operating Procedure of the Nigeria Police Force and provisions of the law in discharging its duties, noting that the command will fish out those responsible for the molestation and ensure they are punished for their unprofessional conduct.
“He further urges Lagosians to be law-abiding and maintain peace at all times as the police and other security agencies will not allow any violence nor break down of law and order in any part of the state.”
Also, Mr. Macaroni has explained why he joined other #OccupyLekkiTollGate protesters on Saturday..
In a video, which he posted on his official social media platforms, Mr. Macaroni said: “The only reason I went there is because I knew people would be there and in good conscience, I don’t know… But I knew people would die. I saw it, and I can confirm it that if words did not get out, people would have died because nobody would have known where anybody was or who picked up who.
“The country’s current situation is a ‘deep shit’. Everyone is scared for their lives. When we were picked up, we were taken to Adeniji (Adele Police Station on Lagos Island). We were beaten and stripped naked.”
Also, the member representing Epe Federal Constituency of Lagos State in the House of Representatives, Wale Raji, has called for caution in the handling of the renewed #EndSARS protest at the Lekki tollgate.
The lawmaker urged Nigerians to learn from the experiences of the immediate past.
He said: “I would advise that we should learn from the experience of the past. We should adopt dialogue as a means of resolving issues, more so that as a result of the #EndSARS protest, committees have been set up in the states to look into the issues.”
“I believe we should explore that as much as possible because of the danger of any other protest being hijacked in view of the damages that occurred during the last protest, which was hijacked by those who were not part of it originally.
“We are in a very delicate situation. I would advise the youths and the Lagos State government to find a common ground to resolve the issues rather than resorting to street protest because of the possibility of a hijack and the consequences that may arise.”