Metro & Crime

#OccupyLekki: Protesters required force –Minister

Federal Government has justified the assault on #OccupyLekki toll gate protesters by the police last Saturday. The Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi, who defended the actions, said the police used minimum force on the protesters because it was necessary to arrest some of them. Speaking on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ programme yesterday, Dingyadi praised the officers drafted to the toll gate for maintaining professionalism in restraining the protesters. He said: “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 tear gas, and you have seen some people ask some people to go into (Black) Maria.

“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. This is the kind of thing 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.”

Dingyadi also warned protesters that Lekki toll gate was not a place for protest in Nigeria. According to him, there are designated protest grounds for orderly demonstrations. He said: “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 a level of minimum sense of nationality so that we don’t just allow every protest to take place without any course.” On the wave of insecurity,Dingyadi said the Federal Government would install closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras on major highways and streets across the country to curb kidnapping. He said President Muhammadu Buhari had resuscitated the abandoned CCTV project to address the security challenges in the country.

The minister said the Federal Government had entered into a concession agreement with NPS Technology Company to resuscitate the abandoned CCTV project. He added: “We are moving forward. You are aware that there is a N470 billion CCTV project that has been abandoned, Mr. President has now given the go-ahead to resuscitate the project and we have entered a concession agreement with NPS Technologies.

“They are trying to refix the entire system to resuscitate it, empower it and to ensure that they make the basis to generate revenue that will pay this loan and give some revenue into the government coffers. So by the time the system is put in place, we would have a lot of technology to manage some of these crises and particularly the issue of this kidnapping.

It will go a long way in reducing the number of kidnappings that are taking place in this country.” When asked if the CCTV would only be in the city centres like Abuja or major highways, the minister said it was going to be on the major highways and in all the city centres in all the states of the federation.

According to him, it is going to be everywhere in the country. Dingyadi said the company in charge of the CCTV project was already purchasing the needed equipment for the project. He added: “We’re trying to resuscitate it, this company is already going into action to ensure that they purchase the needed equipment which have been dilapidated or destroyed.”

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