Nigerian rapper, Folarin Falana, popularly known as Falz, has urged young people to disregard police threats against the protest planned in commemoration of the #EndSARS movement come October 20.
Falz stated this during the ongoing Felabration, the annual festival of music and arts, celebrating the life, times and legacy of the late legendary singer, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
He said in pidgin English, “October 20 don dey come like this, for your information, police commissioner say make we stay inside, una hear abi una no hear? Them go dey disguise. They said on that very day, make we no commot. Dem dey craze? No matter how many them be. As I dey talk to you now, police don station for toll gate. Una go commot abi una no go commot? They no born them… (October 20 is coming; for your information, the police commissioner has said we should stay inside. Have you heard that? They said on that day, we should not go out to protest; they are crazy. It does not matter how many police personnel they bring. Already, police officers have been stationed at Lekki Toll Gate. Will you go out to protest or not? They dare not…)”
His comment comes as the Lagos and Oyo states police commands warned protesters against protesting, saying such would be repelled.
— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) October 17, 2021
A statement from the Lagos State Police Command stated, “The police in the state will not fold their arms and allow some misguided elements disrupt the peace and serenity currently being enjoyed in the state.
“To forestall breakdown of law and order, the police will use all legitimate means within their constitutional powers to suppress the planned protest…”
A statement signed by the Oyo State Police Command spokesperson, Adewale Osifeso, which was made available to journalists said parents, guardians and leaders that wield various degrees of influence in religious, educational and traditional capacities are passionately advised to warn their wards and proteges against being used by merchants of anarchy, as violators would be thoroughly sanctioned and prosecuted.
Meanwhile, groups planning to commemorate the first anniversary of the #EndSARS protest on October 20, have vowed not to back down despite repeated warnings by police authorities.
Falz had earlier alleged that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was plotting to organise concerts with celebrities to distract youths from participating in the #EndSARS remembrance event.
Popular Instagram comedian, Debo Adedayo, also known as Macaroni, had earlier taken a swipe at celebrities for accepting Sanwo-Olu’s invitation to perform at a concert meant to hold days before the Lekki shooting anniversary.
Macaroni, who rebuked celebrities for refusing to speak up against the government’s move to quell planned #EndSARS memorial events, charged them to rethink their association with the government.
Falz also alleged that the Lagos State governor planned to use the concert as a distraction to prevent the youths from participating in the EndSARS memorial event.
He noted that the police were already at the Lekki tollgate to restrict Nigerian youths from exercising their fundamental human rights.
“As I type this, there is already a heavy police presence at the Lekki toll gate. Best thing they could come up with is organising ‘concerts’ to try and distract us from remembering the real heroes in all of this. The people they murdered,” the music star in an Instagram post said.
Falz, who insisted that the youths would not be silenced, lamented that justice had yet to be served to individuals that suffered brutality in the hands of the police before, during and after the #EndSARS protest.
Falz’s social media post followed Landmark Event Centre’s refusal to allow its premises to be used for the “SoroSoke” summit, an event put together to mark the first anniversary of the Lekki tollgate shootings.
SaharaReporters had earlier reported that an event centre in Lagos, Landmark event centre in Lagos, Landmark Centre cancelled #EndSARS Summit scheduled to hold there later in October.
Tagged Sorosoke Summit, the event was expected to hold at the venue on October 20, 2021, to commemorate the first anniversary of last year’s #EndSARS protest and honour the lives of protesters who were killed or injured during the demonstration, especially at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos.
The keynote speaker billed to grace the event is the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II.
However, the event, which was billed to start by 11.30am Wednesday, October 20, 2021, has been cancelled by the management of the event centre.
About the planned event, Banks Omisore had earlier tweeted, “We need to have honest conversations of the event surrounding 10/20/21. @OoniAdimulaIfe will be the keynote speaker.
“What really happened? Who opened fire? Did people die at Lekki toll gate? Who was responsible? What happened to the #5for5 demands? Is #EndSARS still an issue?”
However, the organisers of the event have noted that the cancellation by the event centre will not stop them from going ahead with it.
“We invite everyone to come to LekkiTollGate for the memorial,” one of them told SaharaReporters.
On the night of October 20, 2020, Nigerian soldiers opened fire on peaceful #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, killing an unspecified number of people and injuring many others.