Funke Busari, Lagos
The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN and Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu have issued clear warnings to those bracing up for the continuation of the ENDSARS protest and of another group preparing to defend the State, stressing that violators of other people’s right and failure to comply with the COVID-19 protocols during the intended protests will be met with the full wrath of the law.
The two Commissioners issued the warning against the backdrop of the call for #OCCUPYLAGOSLEKKITOLLGATE protest in the State.
Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN reiterated his Ministry’s commitment while addressing journalists on Thursday.
He said, “While the State recognises the importance of exercising the Rights to Peaceful protests, same cannot extend to blockage of roads and or preventing other members of the public from enjoying their Fundamental Rights to move freely within the State.
“Any person or group with such desire to Protest must also bear in mind the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Health Regulations 2021 which prevents any gathering beyond 50 and other safety measures including but not limited to maintaining Social Distancing and the use of face mask.
“The Attorney General hereby enjoins everyone to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 Regulations and any other extant laws in the State.
“The right to protest peacefully does not exempt anyone from violating laws. Any violator will therefore be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, he said.
Warning further, the Commissioner of Justice said, “Any individual or corporate body who incites or condones any act leading to the destruction of public and private properties shall be prosecuted under the extant laws and in addition to any penalty the court might pronounce, such person or body will be liable to compensate for any damage which is as a result of the action or inaction of such person or body.”
He also encouraged the security agency thus, “The Nigeria Police is equally urged, that in responding to any protest, it should respect the rights of the citizen as guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and carry out their duties in accordance with the law.
The State Police boss said any protest in furtherance of the recent violent and destructive EndSARS protest will be counterproductive to the ongoing series of inquiries and investigations into many cases related to the EndSARS violence and the present security situation of the state.
He also said the police had gathered intelligence that some hidden agents of destruction and shadow parties that planned and orchestrated the last EndSARS violence have concluded plans to cause another set of mayhem in Lagos State and spread same to other parts of the country, tactically and spontaneously, like the recent violence in a calculated attempt to cause pandemonium, brouhaha and massive destruction of lives and properties under whatever guide.
He stressed “Such will not be allowed in Lagos State.”
“The Lagos State, its people and the Nigerian nation at large are still groaning (in pains) for the aftermath of the last EndSARS violence that left many lives and properties lost. It is therefore not reasonable to allow same to repeat itself in the state.
“More expedient why such gathering should not hold is the prevailing COVID-19 virus which is rampaging in the country. You will all recall four days ago, the Federal Government Task Force on COVID-19 declared that the country now has 13 variants of COVID-19 virus which makes it more deadly.
“With this development, all hands must be on deck to halt the spread of the virus by self-complying with its protocols major which is maintenance social distance.
“In addition, the judgement pronounced on the reopening of the Lekki Toll Gate plaza has been misconceptualized by the EndSARS agitators, which I am sure the Hon Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of Lagos State has addressed.
“The Panel of inquiry on EndSARS violence in the State has taken drastic steps to forward reports to the state government on the payment of compensations to affected individuals that were adjudged victims of Police brutality and excessiveness. The government has released some amount of money to take care of these compensations accordingly.
“On this note, the Command therefore warns that, in as much as the Police respects peoples opinions and human rights, no protest will be allowed in any part of the state as the security of lives and properties of the Government and the good people of Lagos State is paramount and not negotiable.