THE Lagos State Government has denied the claim that it hired and sponsored thugs to attack Nigerians protesting against human rights abuse carried out by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Alausa, Lagos.
A large number of thugs had today attacked protesters stationed at Alausa, injuring scores as they tried to disperse the protesters.
Nigerians across the country had since last week been protesting police brutality perpetrated especially by the SARS unit, calling for a reform of the Nigerian Police Force.
The Lagos State government had in a statement posted on its official Twitter handle said it is untrue the government-sponsored thugs to attack protesters.
It said 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 youths fighting for police reforms.
According to the statement, “Governor Sanwo-Olu has been preaching peace, so has the Deputy Governor, who addressed the protesters last Friday. The Governor has addressed them twice – at the Lekki Toll Gate and at the House of Assembly.
“Besides, the governor visited the president to tender their five-point demand, assuring that all the protesters arrested by the police were released unconditionally.
“The enemies of progress, who are not happy that Lagos is not on fire, are the ones fueling the infernal lies that the government was sponsoring thugs to attack our protesting youths.
It also said the claim that the thugs were transported by a bus belongs to the Lagos Bus Service Ltd. (LBSL), was incorrect.
“They have been posting on the social media pictures suggesting that a Lagos Bus Service Ltd. (LBSL) vehicle was conveying thugs. The bus in question was on its normal operation when it ran into a group of protesters. The passengers, who felt endangered, rushed out of the bus. They returned to continue their journey after the charging crowd had left,” the statement further read.
“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.”
Also, Mudashiru Obasa, the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly denied the claim that he was behind the action of the thugs.
Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore had earlier tweeted that the thugs were brought from Agege and sponsored by the Lagos Speaker.
He said, “Large contingent of armed thugs brought in from Agege, sponsored by Lagos Speaker, Obasa and @OfficialAPCNg operatives are attacking #EndSWAT protesters at the Lagos State Assembly’s premises. Many have been injured!”
But Obasa, in response to a tweet by Oby Ezekwesili, Nigeria’s former Minister of Education who condemned the attack, said he supports the #EndSARS movement and did not send thugs to disrupt the peaceful protest.