One protester has reportedly died from the violent crackdown on Occupy Lekki protesters by officers of the Nigerian Police Force.
The yet-to-be-identified protester died of exhaustion after he was allegedly hit and chocked by a tear gas canister fired into the crowd by armed police officers.
Hundreds of Lekki residents took to the streets earlier today to protest the tolling of the Lekki-Epe expressway built by a private investor – Lekki Construction Company – under the Lagos State government’s public private partnership program.
The protest, which started peacefully, was broken up with police officers firing tear gas into the crowd and shooting live ammunitions into the air.
Popular nollywood actress, Kate Henshaw, who was part of the protest, was also reportedly brutalized by the angry police officers.
And so were journalists, Akinkunmi Farinto, a reporter with The News magazine told Premium Times, “Even Compass and Associated Press photojournalists were brutalized and their cameras and IDs taken away.”
Other Nigerian super stars also joined the protest.
“I am against Lekki toll” pop star, Omawumi Megbele, tweeted. “They (government) should find another way to pay for the road! Not from people who are struggling to survive.”
Fully armed men, dressed in Man O’War khakis, were also spotted on the government side, brutally suppressing the protesters. Several protesters have been arrested and taken away in police vans.
LCC, the private firm that constructed the expressway, had announced it would begin tolling the road on Sunday, December 18, sparking a widespread protest by residents.
The residents complain that the tolls, to be collected by the private company for 30 years at three locations within 25km, are too exorbitant.
“We won’t mortgage our furture. We say no to tolling along the Lekki corridor,” Ahmadu Abdul, one of the protesters said.
The protesters are demanding that the government pull down the toll gates. Protest against the toll gates have mounted since the inception of the project.