The police authorities have deployed a large contingent of officials to the Lekki tollgate ahead of Saturday’s planned protests.
A few hours to the planned #occupyLekkitollgate and #DefendLagos protests, slated to hold at 7 a.m., several police vehicles and officers are already on the ground at the tollgate.
At least 10 police vehicles were seen at the tollgate with scores of officers guarding the plaza.
A PREMIUM TIMES’ reporter who was at Lekki on Friday morning saw police officers at different spots at the toll plaza. But as of this evening, the number of officers have quadrupled, according to videos shared on social media.
Why the protest was planned
The protest is coming on the heels of the ruling of the judicial panel for the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) to reopen the tollgate months after soldiers opened fire on unarmed protesters, who were calling for an end to police brutality, at the same spot.
The #EndSARS protests, which held across the nation in October 2019, were later hijacked by thugs. This led to violence and deaths of civilians and police officers.
Judicial panels of enquiries are currently holding across the country, including Lagos, to investigate cases of alleged human rights abuses by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), as an offshoot of the government’s subsequent moves to douse tension.
Doris Okuwobi, a retired judge, heading the Lagos panel gave the ruling on the reopening of the tollgate last Saturday and this generated controversies at the panel, with some members disagreeing with the ruling.
Despite the controversies surrounding the reopening of Lekki tollgate, the company has begun some repairs on the site, and plans to resume the toll soonest.
Youths, however, plan to express their anger at the reopening using the #occupyLekkitollgate hashtag.
In response to the plan to occupy Lekki tollgate, another set of youths are planning a counter-protest, #DefendLagos, “in defence of the tollgate”.
The state government, the police, the LCC and other parties have appealed to youths not to go ahead with the protests.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Hakeem Odumosu, had earlier announced that no protest will be allowed to hold on Saturday.
He said the state “is still in pains from the destruction perpetrated after the Lekki shooting incident in October 2020”.
Despite the pleas, the youths have insisted on embarking on the protest.
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