Steve Ayorinde, former journalist, now, Lagos commissioner of information, denies women marchers celebrating the International Women’s Day, IWD, were tear-gassed at the Governor’s Office, Alausa, on Wednesday.
“It is not true. Nothing of such happened. Nobody was attacked at the Governor’s Office,” was Ayorinde’s response to press inquiry.
Until he left PUNCH under a cloud, Ayorinde had worked at the newspaper’s as editor and, later, as managing director of National Mirror owned by controversial investor, Jimoh Ibrahim. Ayorinde’s apparent on-the-spur response didn’t say if any investigation was carried out on the said attack by a Government House police guard.
The women marchers comprised members of Women Arise for Change Initiative, Trade Union Congress, Nigeria Labour Congress, Association of Professional Women Bankers, Community Life Project and Enough is Enough Nigeria, among others.
“When we got to the governor’s office, we saw that they had barricaded the road. The overzealous security men were aggressive and they slammed the gate in our faces.
“In the process, one of the security men was injured, while our programme officer was also injured. Suddenly, one of the policemen used tear gas canister on us. Despite this, we refused to be provoked,” said Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, President of Women Arise.
“The governor cannot claim not to know that today is the International Women’s Day, which is celebrated throughout the whole world. This was not the case under the administration of former Governor Babatunde Fashola, who used to assemble his executive members to receive women. I know that Ambode is a gender-sensitive person, but to have such a treatment meted at women makes one disappointed,” she added.