Nigeria

Official: Lagos governor didn’t clamp down on #EndSARS memorial event

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has pleaded with residents of the state to adhere strictly with the COVID-19 protocol, as the third wave of the pandemic is already raging in the country.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, has said that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu did not stop any EndSARS memorial event from taking place in the state.

The Commissioner stated this during an interview at the Arise TV Morning Show on Wednesday, following a claim that the Governor instructed owners of Landmark Events Centre to bar organisers of the events from their facility.

On Monday, activist and comedian, Mr Macaroni, had stated that the venue for the memorial event was threatened by “powers above”.

“We say we wan do peaceful walk to Tollgate, dem say no. Oya make we do Summit for Landmark Event Center, in a controlled environment and discuss with ourselves, some powers above don threaten them,” Mr Macaroni had said.

Responding to the claim, the Commissioner, in a statement titled ‘Lagos did not stop #EndSARS memorial event – Omotoso’, stated such an incident never happened.

He pointed out that Sanwo-Olu encourages free speech and the right of citizens to protest.

According to him, after the rumour broke out, Governor Sanwo-Olu personally called the owners of Landmark to find out what happened.

“The owners of Landmark confirmed that it was purely a business decision taken to safeguard their customers and property because they do not know where it could end like what happened last year,” the statement quoted Omotoso as saying.

Omotoso said some of the leaders of the EndSARS protests were with the Governor during his conversation with the event centre owners.

Confirming that there was also an element of protest at the youth symposium by some physically challenged persons, the blind and students, Omotoso said, “Despite the unruly behaviour of some of the attendees, Mr Governor still listened to them and gave them the opportunity to speak.”

While reacting to a question about scenes of policemen intimidating protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate earlier in the day, the Commissioner maintained that there was no justification for such but some officers could be overzealous due to individual traits.

“Mr Governor will always allow free speech. He can only advise the Commissioner of Police who doesn’t report to him,” Omotoso said.

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