Lagos State government denies sponsoring thugs who attacked #EndSARS protesters

The government says the allegations are wicked and untrue.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his wife Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu praying. (Twitter/Sanwo-Olu)

The attack occurred on Thursday, October 15, in the Alausa area of Ikeja, with a handful of the protesters marching under the ‘End SARS’ banner, left badly injured.

The thugs were armed with machetes and cudgels.

There were reports that the hoodlums alighted from a Lagos State owned mass transit bus, popularly referred to as BRT, but the government says the reports are untrue.

“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. This is untrue and wicked,” the state government said in a statement.

“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 our youths in their efforts towards police reforms.”

State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has addressed and marched with the protesters. The statement says this should dispel all doubts over whose side Alausa is on.

“Governor Babajide 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. 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 internal lies that the government was sponsoring thugs to attack our protesting youths,” it reads.

The presence of a BRT bus at the scene of the attack hasn’t helped the government's cause. The statement however says the bus was on a routine trip when it came under attack from the thugs.

“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.

“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,” the statement added.

Protesters in Lagos repelled attacks from hoodlums a day earlier.

#EndSARS protesters in Abuja, the nation’s capital, were attacked on Wednesday, October 14. Their cars were subsequently destroyed by stick-welding hoodlums.

The government has acceded to the demands of the protesters by dissolving notorious police unit, SARS, and approving a five-point document on police reforms. But the youths have refused to leave the streets, demanding for an execution plan and prosecution of killer cops.

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