The Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi, has backed the use of ‘minimum force’ on #OccupyLekki protesters last Saturday.
Recall that Popular comedian Debo Adebayo, also known as Mr. Macaroni, and 39 other #OccupyLekki protesters were arrested and stripped naked last Saturday for protesting against the reopening of the Lekki toll gate.
In viral video clips, Macaroni and the other protesters were cramped in a commercial bus while police officers beat them.
The video sparked outrage on social media with the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Hakeem Odumosu, condemning the molestation and ordering a“probe” of the trending video showing the arrested protesters being subjected to dehumanizing conditions.
Some of the arrested persons also said they were passersby hauled and indiscriminately arrested by the police.
Speaking on Channels TV on Tuesday, Dingyadi said the policemen deployed in the toll gate were well-kitted and maintained professionalism in restraining the protesters.
“This is the kind of things that we want to take place in any situation that we find ourselves. Like what you saw in Lekki, this is how it is supposed to be, they were fully equipped, well-uniformed and they were ready for the #EndSARS protesters. That was why we were able to contain the situation,” he said.
The Minister added that “Minimum force was used. People always say that the police use force but you forget the fact that for you to ask somebody to please move this side, please be orderly, you have to use some level of force, you have to use some minimum level of force to ensure that people comply with what you are saying. I’m not talking about shooting, I’m not talking about teargas, you have seen some people ask some people to go into (Black) Maria.”
On the arrest of passersby, Dingyadi said, “How will the police arrest you if you are not part of a situation? How will they see you to arrest you? If you are not in Lekki, why will they arrest you? They cannot pursue people on the street to arrest them.”
According to ThePunch, he also claimed that Lekki was not a place for protest as there were “designated” protest grounds for “orderly” demonstrations.
“Lekki is not a place for protest, there are specific areas that are assigned or designated as areas for protests. We agreed that protests should be conducted when the need arises but we cannot be protesting everywhere at all times. We have to have specific locations where these protests are conducted and they have to be orderly, they have to be reasonable and they have to be with level of minimum sense of nationality so that we don’t just allow every protest to take place without no course,” he noted.