Home » Lagos, State News » Lagos govt denies deploying soldiers…Slams police over attack on protesters

Lagos govt denies deploying soldiers…Slams police over attack on protesters

Lagos State government yesterday refuted claims by the military authorities that
the deployment of soldiers in the streets was on its request. The state
government also carpeted the police for using tear gas on eminent Nigerians
protesting the deployment of soldiers in the state.

Speaking at a press
briefing on the issue, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and
Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, challenged the military authorities to show proof
of the request for the deployment of soldiers in Lagos.

Ibirogba said
the claim that the use of joint security force, otherwise known as OP MESA, in
the state is tantamount to deployment of soldiers is not tenable. He said there
is a clear distinction between soldiers’ deployment by the Federal Government,
which is aimed to subdue protesters in the state and the OP MESA.
commissioner said: “OP-MESA has been a long-standing arrangement since the days
of President Olusegun Obasanjo. Indeed, the military men involved in OP-MESA
were deployed purposely to join the police in fighting crime and were never at
any point in time drafted to occupy the streets.

“For the avoidance of
doubt, OP-MESA men are still working with the police in the fight against crime.
The men of OP-MESA should not be confused with the soldiers deployed in the last
one week to suppress a civil protest in a democracy.”
He noted that there
were no reasons for the deployment of the troop in the state, adding that
protesters in Lagos, in the wake of subsidy removal, were peaceful and law

Ibirogba stressed that only the police were constitutionally
empowered to maintain law and order in the state, adding that abdicating such
roles to the military could cause problem.
On the use of tear gas on eminent
Nigerians protesting the deployment of soldiers in the streets of Lagos, the
commissioner said: “Although it is the constitutional role of the police to
maintain peace in a democratic setting, that right does not mean that they
should not exhibit professionalism in doing their job in a democratic
The Director of Defence Information, Col. Mohammed Yerima, on
Thursday said soldiers in Lagos streets were members of a joint police-military
security team set up and sponsored by the Lagos State government.

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Posted by on Jan 21 2012. Filed under Lagos, State News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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