The Lagos State Government on Wednesday warned residents to desist from holding open processions during the yuletide season, urging them to limit such gatherings to the enclosure of the venue.
Briefing Government House Correspondents shortly after an emergency State Security Council meeting, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said the Council decided to stop any form of procession due to the intelligence reports on security, which indicated the possibility of such processions being hijacked by hoodlums and criminal elements.
He said that inasmuch as the government would like residents to celebrate the yuletide with all the fanfare associated with the season, the security situation across the globe requires everyone to be on red alert so as to prevent unscrupulous elements from unleashing terror on innocent citizens. He however said the state was not under any special security threat, but that proactive measures have been put in place to forestall any breakdown of law and order.
“We all know that Christmas and New Year are fast approaching. Looking at what we have on ground in terms of strategies and logistics, the Council is convinced that we can reassure people in Lagos that this period of yuletide will be celebrated without let or hindrance”.
“But most importantly, we’ve also looked and considered some of the intelligence reports that are flowing in from different groups of people apart from the normal terrorist alert that is being raised, different groups of people wanting to come out under different kinds of names to foment trouble. The Council feels that we should tell members of the public that with all the situations that are on ground now, we know activities that are connected with Christmas and New Year such as carnivals, town hall meetings and so on”.
“All those outside processions should be limited, outside procession should cease. If anybody is holding a town hall meeting, new yam festival, they should limit those meetings to the venue and enclosure where they are having such meetings. The situation we have now does not allow us to permit open procession on the road”.
“These events can be hijacked, terrorists elements and other kinds of insurgents. We want to appeal to our people that inasmuch as we want them to celebrate and jubilate, we would not allow open procession of any kind. Carnivals that are going to be done or any meeting, for their security and safety, they should please tell security agencies, they should let the police in the area or the headquarters know, so that they can secure the area”.
He specifically said that security agencies in the state have been mandated to restrict social gatherings including open carnivals however urging organisers of such events to let the Police know for adequate security arrangements to be put in place.
On the issue of false alarm, the Police Commissioner said the security agencies in the state are in position of intelligence reports to the effect that some miscreants are planning to raise false alarm and take advantage of such situation to rob their victims.
He urged residents to be mindful and thoroughly scrutinise any alarm raised especially in public places.
While insisting that the order restricting the use of fireworks in the state is still in force, Owoseni alongside heads of other security agencies in Lagos said that law enforcement officers have been sent out to arrest those selling and distributing the device in the market.