The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has said that no single protester was killed during the protest in Lagos on Monday.
The CP said this on Tuesday, while addressing a group of protesting lawyers who marched to the Lagos State Police command, bearing various placards.
Contrary to reports that several persons were shot dead by the police, the CP explained that the police have instead been protecting all those involved in the protest since it started.
When the lawyers countered this claim, he explained that the incident which happened in Surelere was caused by “an infiltration by a miscreant whose criminal intention was to liberate the kidnap suspects and 4 of them were liberated. A stray bullet hit a driver whose owner was in a vehicle. The driver came out to see what caused the traffic gridlock and he was the one hit by a bullet and a police inspector. So, we lost a police inspector and a civilian”.
“Two of them were not even part of the protesters so there’s no single protester in Lagos that has been killed as far as I am concerned. None! If you have, tell me the incidence, tell me the rank, tell me the name, there is none,” Odumosu stressed.
Speaking on behalf of the lawyers, the leader of the group, Inibehe Effiong, explained that lawyers are partners with the police in criminal justice administration and so they are interested in the welfare of the citizens as well as the welfare of the police.
According to him, the killings are not justified because they believe that it is not just a fight for the people but also the police, whom they believe, are also victims of a failed system.
“We are also calling for proper funding for the police. I feel ashamed as a Nigerian, my citizenship is constantly called to question, every time I pass by a police college, police barracks, and police quarters. They are not fit for human habitation. And that is why we get angry when you attack us when we protest peacefully because you are also victims of the failure of the Nigerian state,” Effiong said.
The Police Commissioner assured the protesting lawyers that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad has been disbanded in Lagos and their offices have been shut down in line with the IGP’s announcement on Sunday which dissolved the unit.
“As to the directive of the Inspector-General of Police for disbandment of SARS, they have been disbanded, all their arms have been collected; the cases they were handling and the suspects have been transferred to the State CID, Panti for continuation of investigation,” he said.
“All these I have done in compliance with the Inspector-General’s directive. You should understand that in Lagos, we have many police formations; we have, for example, the Special Fraud Unit, traditionally, they are not to carry arms, they are in mufti; equally, we have the Force CID personnel in Alagbon, they are not carrying arms and they are not to be in uniform, all these are specialised arms of the police. But the one that the IG has disbanded now has been disbanded from that day. If you go to their offices now in Surulere, Gbagada, Featac, and other places were they have offices, they are under lock and key; we only posted two policemen there now to guard the places. They are no more functioning”.