The police in Lagos have accused protesters in Surulere area of carrying guns and killing two people including a police officer.
The police also denied killing a man who died from gunshot wounds during the #EndSARS protest, saying he was shot by protesters.
The #EndSARS protest across Nigeria have been largely peaceful with the police using force to disperse the protesters.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the death of the man in Surulere who was believed to be one of the protesters.
The police, however, said the victim was a passerby who did not participate in the Surulere protest.
“The protesters fired and killed one Ikechukwu Ilohamauzo, 55 years, a driver of one Toyota Sienna Bus, with Registration Number LSD 296 FX, who got stuck in the traffic caused by the blockage of the road by the violent protesters, in Surulere today,” Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the police spokesman, said in a statement.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how the Monday protest turned violent in different parts of Lagos State such as Surulere, Ojuelegba, and Barracks.
At least one person was killed in the incident while others sustained different degrees of injuries, including a police inspector.
“It is pertinent to state that the attacked police inspectors and Mr Ikechukwu Ilohamauzu were hit and injured by pellets reasonably fired from pump actions/locally-made guns. The corpses of the deceased have been deposited in a mortuary for autopsy,” Mr Adejobi said in the statement.
The #EndSARS protest, a campaign against police brutality in Nigeria, has been ongoing in different states of the country
Despite the announcement of the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector General of Police on Sunday, protesters have continued the protest against the police unit.
The police have used force to disperse protesters in major cities like Abuja, Ogbomoso and parts of Lagos. One protester was shot dead in Ogbomoso on Saturday.
The Monday protest in Surulere area of Lagos turned violent after police officers allegedly opened fire at peaceful protesters. Mr Ilohamauzo was killed during the incident and many others severely injured.
The deceased was a mechanic who worked at Ishola Street, Surulere. He went to get a vehicle from a customer at Surulere where he got stuck in traffic, came out to see what was happening and got hit by a stray bullet, PREMIUM TIMES gathered.
Following the attack on the protesters, the angry youth launched a reprisal attack against police officers, with the police saying three officers were shot by the protesters.
Protesters allegedly kill police officer, free kidnapping suspects
Mr Adejobi said of the three officers shot, one was killed while two others are at the intensive care unit of an undisclosed hospital receiving treatment.
Two kidnap suspects arrested by the anti-kidnapping unit of the police were also allegedly set free by the protesters.
“Today, being 12th October 2020, at about 1pm, some armed protesters laid siege on the Anti Kidnapping Unit Office of the command, broke into the cell and liberated two of the kidnap cases suspects, before they were tactically and professionally repelled.
“In the process, Inspr Ekei Joshua with AP No 175493, Inspr Peter Agabi with AP No 251138 and Insp Erinfolami Ayodeji with AP No 229241 (now late) attached to the Anti Kidnapping Unit of Lagos State Command, located at Iyun Road, Surulere were shot and critically injured; they have been rushed to the Intensive Care Unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital,” Mr Adejobi wrote.
However, four suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident. The Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered the Homicide section of the SCID, Yaba, Lagos to carry out a thorough investigation into the incidence for further police actions, Mr Adejobi said.
Call for calm
Meanwhile, the police have urged protesters in different parts of the state to maintain calm following Monday’s violence.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Hakeem Odumosu, urged the police personnel to maintain professionalism during the #EndSARS protests, saying the protests have been hijacked by some armed, unscrupulous elements in Lagos State.
Mr Odumosu urged protesters to avoid violent attacks on police personnel or any other security agents.
He also warned them not to harass innocent Lagosians by forcing them to join the protests. He said they should avoid blocking access routes or roads as that would violate the rights of other residents.
The police chief appealed to parents and guardians to keep watch of their children and monitor their activities to avoid being mobilised and used for illegal activities in the state.
Members of the public are also encouraged to maintain peaceful conducts during the protests, he said.
The Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday, addressed a different set of protesters at Lekki toll-gate on Monday.
Mr Sanwo-Olu received a cold welcome from the protesters who kept chanting ‘shame, shame,’ during his speech.
He assured them that he would meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on police reforms on Tuesday.