By Evelyn Usman
The Lagos State Police Command has reacted to a video of unusual traffic congestion at the entrance of Brooks estate, in Magodo, Isheri area of Lagos, that went viral on social media yesterday, where residents accused its boss, AIG Hakeem Odumosu, of ordering that the gate be shut.
Odumosu’s action as gathered, followed a refusal by private guards at the gate to allow him in, to attend a function, on the evening of January 1, 2022,
Residents also alleged that the command boss who was. infuriated by the guard’s effrontery, ordered that they(guards) be arrested, adding that a widow who tried to intervene was also arrested alongside her three children.
The arrest of the guards said to be with the access token, hampered movements in and out of the estate as the gate is automated.
The resultant gridlock extended to CMD road, with motorists trapped for hours until those arrested were released to some members of executives of the estate.
A spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, clarified that AIG Odumosu never gave a directive that the estate gate should be locked.
Explaining what transpired, he said, ” the CP who was recently promoted to the rank of AIG, visited the public Estate on January 1, 2022, to meet a strategic partner at a function, after going around, visiting some places in the state to ensure the safety of Lagosians.
“He was accompanied by his armed security details and was driven in his official car bearing an official number plate and a pennant, including all the paraphernalia of office.
“On reaching the Estate gate, he was properly introduced notwithstanding the visible security details in uniform including an outrider in his convoy, yet he was prevented from entering the Estate by some overzealous private security guards.
“All appeals to the security men to allow the CP go to see someone at a function where an urgent matter bordering on security was to be discussed, fell on deaf ears even when they had foreknowledge of his coming.
“In spite of this deliberate humiliation, the senior police officer remained calm. When it became obvious that the security men were going overboard, the CP, after about 30 minutes of humiliation, ordered the arrest of four of the security men, leaving one. However, in order not to make the Estate porous, the Commissioner of Police immediately posted well-armed policemen at the gate to support the security man left behind.
“A few minutes later, a female resident of the Estate who didn’t witness the incident but heard of it, stormed the gate in anger, inciting other residents against the Commissioner of Police and his aides. She was also arrested for inciting violence and conduct likely to cause a breach of peace.
” All those arrested were taken to the Isheri Police Division where they made statements. They were subsequently released a few minutes after, following the intervention of notable individuals.
“At no time did the Commissioner of Police shut or lock down the Estate. The police boss could not have done that for whatever reason, knowing that the Estate is a residential one.
“Some residents of the Estate in solidarity for the arrested security men, deliberately closed the gate, thereby creating a temporary gridlock. This they did after the CP had left, perhaps to blackmail him and make him release the security men.
“It should be stated here that, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for freedom of movement. The police in particular are statutorily permitted to enter any public place at any time. The Brooks Estate is a public place and the roads leading into it are highways and as such, no one has the power to prevent police officers in uniform from entering the Estate or any such public places.
“The internal security arrangements of the estates and other public places nonetheless, the statutory powers of the police to have unfettered access to public places must be acknowledged and respected.
“Therefore, management or authorities of estates in the state are advised to constantly brief their private security guards in this regard. Any restriction deliberately put in the way of the police in any of the estates will not be tolerated. Offenders will be dealt with according to the law, just as the police will not condone any form of embarrassment and recklessness”.