Dozens of Nigerians who are peaceful protesters have been arrested and brutalized by security operatives at the Lekki toll gate.
One of the coordinators of #OccupyLekkiTollgate, Kunle Ajayi, confirmed this.
Ajayi told our correspondent that the protesters were detained in a black maria and are about to be taken to an unknown location.
“Police have just arrested 10 protesters – Four ladies and six guys. They were beaten mercilessly and injured,” he said.
Our correspondents at the scene of the protest confirmed that Juwon Sanya-Olu and one Comrade Dimeji were among the 18 arrested protesters.
In a video, one of the arrested protesters said, “We have been arrested. Over 10 of us. We are kept in a black maria stationed at the toll gate now.”
The Federal Government and the police had earlier warned youths who planned to protest at the Lekki tollgate on Saturday (today) to have a rethink and shelve the protests.
But the young Nigerians, under the aegis of #EndSARS Season 2 and #OccupyLekkiTollgate, vowed to defy the government’s order.
The other group, #DefendLagos withdrew from the protest, noting that it was in accordance with the government’s directives that no protest should hold.
The #EndSARS Season 2 and #OccupyLekkiTollgate said their action was informed by the decision of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry allowing the Lekki Concession Company to reopen the Lekki tollgate.
The #EndSARS protests had spread across the country in October 2020 to register the youths’ grievances against the alleged atrocities of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force.’
The protest, which gained massive international attention, came to a halt on October 20, 2020, when heavily armed soldiers allegedly shot protesters at the Lekki tollgate.
‘No going back’, #OccupyLekki protesters insist despite heavy security at tollgate
Youths under the aegis of #OccupyLekkiTollgate and #EndSARS Season 2 have insisted that they would proceed with their protest despite the presence of security operatives at the Lekki toll gate.
The protesters, who spoke to our correspondent on Saturday morning, insisted that they would hold a protest at the Lekki tollgate.
According to them, the presence of heavy security operatives at the tollgate was to only ensure peace.
“We are not going to be violent. No government has the right to stop a peaceful protest. We are not discouraged by the armed security men. We will be out to pass a message that bad governance in Nigeria must stop,” one of them, Wise man, said.
Another protester added that the protest would hold in line with the COVID-19 protocols and in the most peaceful manner.
“We read the threat messages by the government. They do not connect with our goals. We will be peaceful. It is shameful that more than 50 security operatives were also mobilised when they asked us not to be more than 50. We have plans and nobody can stop us,” she added.
AUTHENTIC learnt that the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing the alleged killing of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki tollgate had, on Saturday, approved the reopening of the tollgate after about four months of investigating the Lekki shootings.
However, four out of the nine members of the panel faulted the report of the forensic experts hired to comb the scene for evidence.
The four members who faulted the forensic report also rejected the application by the Lekki Concession Company, operator of the Lekki tollgate, to take possession of the facility, which had been shut down since the probe of the shootings started.
The four members who rejected the forensic report are the two representatives of the civil society – Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) and Ms. Patience Udoh; as well as the two youth representatives on the panel – Rinu Oduala and Temitope Majekodunmi.
But the chairman of the panel, retired Justice Doris Okuwobi, and four other members of the panel acceded to LCC’s request to repossess the tollgate.
The chairman was backed by Segun Awosanya (popularly known as Segalink), Oluwatoyin Odusanya (Director, Citizens Rights), DIG Taiwo Lakanu (retd.) (representing the police), and Lucas Koyejo (from the National Human Rights Commission).