The Lagos state government has denied the allegations that it hired thugs to attack #EndSARS protesters on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, hoodlums had attacked the protesters around the state house of assembly gate in Ikeja, the state capital.
The protesters are demanding the prosecution of all officers involved in the abuse and killing of citizens, as well as a total reform of the police force.
But reacting in a statement by Gbenga Omotoso, commissioner for information and strategy, the government described the allegations as “untrue and wicked”.
It blamed the rumour on “enemies of peace and orderliness” who are bent on whipping up sentiments against the government.
It noted that Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the state governor who had earlier identified with the protesters, has been suing for peace and making efforts to avert crisis.
It also emphasised the government’s commitment to protecting the protesters and safeguarding the lives of residents.
“The attention of the Lagos State Government has been drawn to some unverified reports in the social media alleging that the government-sponsored thugs to disrupt the #EndSARS protest. This is untrue and wicked,” the statement read.
“Such wild allegations were obviously concocted by enemies of peace and orderliness to whip up sentiments against the government, which has been doing everything possible to resolve the crisis by identifying with our youths in their efforts towards police reforms.
“Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has been preaching peace. So has the Deputy Governor, who addressed the protesters last Friday. The Governor has addressed them twice – at the Lekki Toll Gate and at the House of Assembly.
“He even carried a placard and marched with the youths after assuring them that he felt their pains and that it was legitimate for them to protest.
“The enemies of progress, who are not happy that Lagos is not on fire, are the ones fueling the infernal lies that the government was sponsoring thugs to attack our protesting youths. They have been posting on the social media pictures suggesting that a Lagos Bus Service Ltd. (LBSL) vehicle was conveying thugs.
“The bus in question was on its normal operation when it ran into a group of protesters. The passengers, who felt endangered, rushed out of the bus. They returned to continue their journey after the charging crowd had left.
“As a government, we will never encourage thuggery or any act of violence that may put the lives and businesses of Lagosians at risk. We are strongly committed to ensuring that our youths, who have taken to the streets to air their views, are well protected.
“The government seeks the co-operation of all in ensuring that the crisis is put behind us as soon as possible.”