The planned protest slated for Saturday, February 13th over the move to reopen Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos State is generating tension in Lagos State.
This is just as the state police command has deployed men to the Lekki toll plaza along the Lekki-Epe expressway.
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Daily Trust reports that the federal government, the state government as well as the police command have vowed to resist any protest to avoid a repeat of the October 2020 protest which led to massive destruction of properties in the state.
Similarly, the concessionaire of the Lekki Toll Gates, the Lekki Concession Company (LCC), also urged the protesters to reconsider their stance, insisting it remains a victim of the #EndSARS protest; the uprising against police brutality which later turned bloody.
The State Judicial Panel of Enquiry had granted LCC’s request to take repossession of the toll gates at Lekki-Epe expressway and Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge, though the panel was divided over the decision.
Following the decision, the organisers of the #EndSARS began to mobilize for another round of protest tagged; #OccupyLekki while another pro-government group also launched a counter move with #DefendLagos and #DemNoBornDemPapaWell.
But the government at the federal and state levels warned that no protest would be allowed to take place while the organisers of the protest insist the protest would go on as planned.
To forestall this, sources learnt that heavily armed policemen were deployed to the Lekki toll gates on Friday evening with the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, also on ground at the toll gates.
As of the time of filing this report, heavily armed mobile policemen were still at the toll gates while vehicles were passing at the gates unhindered.
RINU PULLS OUT
Meanwhile, the youth representative on the Panel of Enquiry, Rinu Oduala, has pulled out, causing cracks in the panel.
She announced her decision in a series of tweet on Friday, saying justice has not been served for victims of the alleged Lekki shooting of October 20, 2020.
She said: “After going silent for a month, troll accounts dedicated to belittling my work & sowing doubt about my age & right to express myself as a citizen of Nigeria were reactivated.
“They targeted me by releasing fake tweets & turn the public against me.
“My stand on the reopening of the toll gate is clear; the state government and the private organisation operating the toll have not been cleared of collusion with elements allegedly deployed by the federal government to target citizens on home soil during a time of peace, without provocation.
“Justice has not been served, and as a representative of the Nigerian citizenry, my only recourse is to stay the course of justice.
“Let me be clear: I chose to honour the invitation to represent my peers and to stand as an example that any Nigerian has the right to demand accountability of elected government officials and that our institutions, however flawed, can still deliver justice.
“I will be stepping down from the Lagos Judicial Panel as it is now obvious that the government is only out to use us for performative actions.
“We must not forget the purpose of this panel: to address injustice and create accountability for the SARS brutality and for the heinous events on 20th October 2020.
“When calls for justice are subsumed by commercial concerns and vested interests, it calls into question the legitimacy and integrity of the entire affair & the impartiality of the proceedings.
“Without a final panel report or actionable steps, we are returning to the status quo…”