#EndSARS: Lagos will never encourage thuggery, says commissioner
Lagos State government has distanced itself from what it termed as unverified reports on social media alleging that it sponsored thugs to disrupt the ongoing #EndSARS protest in the state, describing the reports as untrue and wicked.
The state government, while denying the reports, further described them as wild allegations obviously concocted by enemies of peace and orderliness to whip up sentiments against the government, which it said had been doing everything possible to resolve the crisis by identifying with the youth in their efforts towards police reforms.
The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, said this on Thursday in a statement made available to newsmen covering Alausa, Ikeja, reiterating that the state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has been preaching peace as well as his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, who addressed the protesters last Friday.
This was just as he disclosed that Governor Sanwo-Olu is scheduled to address Lagosians any moment from now on the ongoing #EndSARS protests in the state.
“The attention of the Lagos State government has been drawn to some unverified reports in the social media alleging that the government-sponsored thugs to disrupt the #EndSARS protest. This is untrue and wicked.
“Such wild allegations were obviously concocted by enemies of peace and orderliness to whip up sentiments against the government, which has been doing everything possible to resolve the crisis by identifying with our youths in their efforts towards police reforms.
“Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has been preaching peace. So has the Deputy Governor, who addressed the protesters last Friday,” Omotoso said.
According to the commissioner, the governor had addressed the protesters twice at the Lekki Toll Gate and at the State House of Assembly, saying he even carried a placard and marched with the youth after assuring them that he felt their pains and that it was legitimate for them to protest.
“Besides, the governor visited the president to tender their five-point demand. He ensured that all the protesters arrested by the police were released unconditionally,” he said.
Omotoso noted that enemies of progress, who were not happy that Lagos was not on fire, were the ones fueling the infernal lies that the government was sponsoring thugs to attack the protesting youths, saying they had been posting on the social media pictures suggesting that a Lagos Bus Service Ltd. (LBSL) vehicle was conveying thugs.
He said the bus in question was on its normal operation when it ran into a group of protesters, revealing that the passengers, who felt endangered, rushed out of the bus and returned to continue their journey after the charging crowd had left.
“As a government, we will never encourage thuggery or any act of violence that may put the lives and businesses of Lagosians at risk. We are strongly committed to ensuring that our youths, who have taken to the streets to air their views, are well protected.
“This should be a sober time for us all as we struggle to reverse the negative effects of COVID-19 on our economic and social lives, even as the experts are warning that a second wave is likely if we shun the safety guidelines we have all agreed to embrace.
“The government seeks the co-operation of all in ensuring that the crisis is put behind us as soon as possible,” he said.
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The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has convened a meeting with stakeholders and has agreed to meet all demands raised by the #EndSARS protesters, which include halting use of force against protesters and unconditional release of arrested citizens.
Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said the state government has earmarked N200million as compensation for families of victims of #EndSars protest.