The Lagos State Government has dismissed what it called unverified reports in the social media alleging that the government-sponsored thugs to disrupt the #EndSARS protest, saying, “it’s untrue and wicked.”
The clarification came following viral postings on the social media of pictures suggesting that a Lagos Bus Service Limited, LBSL, vehicle conveying thugs to locations where protests are ongoing in the state.
In a swift reaction, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, in a statement on Thursday, said, “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.
“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 the youths in their efforts towards police reforms.
“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.”
Omotoso clarified that, “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 commissioner recalled that Governor Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Femi Hamzat had been preaching peace and appealing for calm.
He stressed that the Governor also addressed the protesters twice – at the Lekki Toll Gate and at the House of Assembly, Alausa, Ikeja.
Omotoso stated, “He even carried a placard and marched with the youths 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.
“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.”
The government therefore, called for the co-operation of all “in ensuring that the crisis is put behind us as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is expected to address residents at 5pm later today on the update of the ongoing #EndSARS protests in the state.