Operatives of Nigerian Police, Lagos State Command have arrested over twenty protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos for converging on the toll gate to stage a protest in reaction to the Lagos State Judicial Panel’s decision permitting the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) to repossess the Lekki toll gate.
It would be recalled that the #EndSARS protests against police brutality and bad governance brought Africa’s fifth largest economy to a standstill with property worth billions of Naira destroyed in October in a campaign that won the backing of many high-profile celebrities.
Attempt to carry out a second phase of the protest after being hyped in social media got the police fully prepared as they beefed up security in the axis.
Not leaving anything to chance, the police operatives on Saturday bundled about 20 protesters, some chanting “What do we want? Justice”, into Black Maria at the toll gate where security forces had been deployed since Friday evening.
” We are here for the people that died, for the people that have been amputated. For the people that have been shot, for the victims of #EndSARS, we want justice. Justice is all we want, the tollgate should not be reopened,” one young protester told our Correspondent before the police arrested him.
The youth protesters arrived at the tollgate area, some sitting on the ground or peacefully offering their arms to police to be arrested.
Traffic was flowing normally, with some drivers chanting “#EndSARS” as they passed by.
One young protester in a red T-shirt managed to sprint away from police chasing him.
“Lekki tollgate should be made a museum of resistance and not a monument for money making,” said Damilare Adebola, 24, who spoke from the police van where he was being held.
The Federal Government and Lagos police authorities had this week warned against holding new protests at Lekki, saying the rallies could descend into violence in the name of justice.
“We are calling on all Nigerian authorities to demonstrate commitment to protect the right to peaceful protest,” watchdog Amnesty International said on Twitter.
Also the award-winning Nigerian rapper, songwriter and actor, Folarin Falana, popularly known as Falz has condemned the arrest of popular comedian, Debo Adebayo, better known as Mr. Macaroni, and other protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos State.
Falz described the arrest as a shameful behaviour and oppression of Nigerians.
According to him, the Nigerian government had shown they don’t want peace by using threat on citizens.
“What is this shameful behaviour? Are these people insane? Citizens are peacefully protesting and you are arresting,” he tweeted.
“How is this supposed to solve the problems that they have already caused?
“Macaroni has been picked up.
“The Nigerian government basically saying they do not want peace oh.
“I am tired of just coping. I am tired of just managing. This is a fu*king shithole we are living in and we simply cannot continue like this.
“They are using this threat of force and violence because they expect that we would naturally fear for our lives, but the life we dey live no kuku get meaning before.”
What is this shameful behaviour?! Are these people insane?!?
Citizens are peacefully protesting and you are arresting.
How is this supposed to solve the problems that they have already caused?!
— Bop Daddy (@falzthebahdguy) February 13, 2021
The state Commissioner for Police, Hakeem Odumosu, while responding to the development, assured residents of adequate security of lives and property.
Odumosu who acknowledged the rights of the people to protest as enshrined in the Nigeria Constitution said such rights should not debar others from going about their normal businesses.