The Federal Government and the Nigerian Police Force have issued a strong warning to youths who planned to protests at Lekki toll gate on Saturday as Lagos begin the reconstruction and reopening of the toll gate.
The Federal Government and the police on Thursday gave strong warnings to youths, who planned to protest at Lekki toll gate, Lagos on Saturday.
The FG who made this known on Thursday while reacting to the threatened protest said it would no more tolerate the destruction of lives and property in the state.
The FG also warned hose behind the #OccupyLekkiprotest to desist, saying it would not allow the act of violence under the guise of protests.
However, following the reopening of the Lekki toll gate months after the massacre, some Nigerian youths have planned to hold a staged protest on Saturday to negate the government wish.
It could be recalled that Nigerian youths protesting killings and other human rights abuses of a unit of the Nigerian Police, known as Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), on October 7, 2020, began a demonstration tagged #EndSARS at the Lagos State Police Command headquarters.
The following day, like a wildfire the protest spread to other cities including Abuja, Benin, Abeokuta and Port Harcourt. The matter came to a head-on on October 20, 2020, when heavily armed soldiers shot protesters at Lekki toll gate killing many people.
Youths under the aegis of #EndSARS Season 2, vowed to defy government’s order banning the protest. One of the leaders of the group, Kunle Ajayi said nothing would stop the demonstration from holding.
Ajayi, however, said the protest would hold but assuring Nigerians that it would be peaceful in an interview with the Punch.
He said, “Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. We are not just calling for the protest, we are ensuring that it does not go haywire. The protest is like rain that cannot be controlled.
"We want a constitutional peaceful protest; the working people have agreed to make it peaceful, except the state wants to make it otherwise as they have always been doing.
“The working people will be out. We have passed through this stage before. During the #EndSARS protest, before October 20, they started killing people. The more they killed, the more the people came out. They started from Ogbomosho, went to Delta and deployed thugs in Abuja.
"The more the violence, the more the people will come out because they feel you cannot enslave them in their own country. It’s about the working people of Nigeria represented by the new youth, who do not even see a future, let alone having one.”
Also, organisers of the protest, in a statement on Thursday, accused the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, of seeking to cover up the alleged killing of scores of protesters at the toll gate on October 20, 2020.
The youth, in the statement, titled, ‘EndSARS Season 2: Why we will #OccupyLekkiTollGate on Saturday’, said they remained undaunted despite the threats from security agents and the state government.
The group also highlighted reasons for the renewed protest stated “After committing genocide by killing scores of people who were peacefully protesting at Lekki toll gate and other parts of Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu and other oppressors want to spit on the dead and dance on the blood of the innocent by reopening the gate to be collecting their blood money again.
“We say no! We are undaunted! We will be occupying Lekki toll gate again starting from Saturday, February 13. We urge all well-meaning Nigerians to storm back all the barricades, as our rulers have shown that they can never change. Since the #EndSARS, they are yet to affect any of the promises. Police brutality is still raging and SARS is still operating.
“Despite overwhelming and highly compelling evidence showing how several protesters were shot by the military, no single military official has been brought to book. Deaths have been established and many victims of the Lekki shootings have surfaced, yet neither the victims nor families of our deceased colleagues have got justice.
“After close to five months of sitting, the judicial panel meant to inquire into the Lekki massacre has refused to deliver justice to victims of the massacre most of whom have either lost their limbs due to gun wounds or have become deceased.”
The organisers also cited the high rate of unemployment among the youth and the ban on cryptocurrency, a means of income for some young people.
The group lamented the high rate of poverty in the country and the purported plan to increase petrol price to N190 per litre.
The youth called on other residents to come out for the protest.
“The Nigerian government now negotiates and enriches terrorists and bandits while chasing after, arresting, shooting and killing protesters. It is to this end that we call on you all to come out en masse to demand not just justice for victims and fallen heroes of the October 20 killings, but that all involved in this heinous criminality be brought to book,” the statement added.
As a counter-measure, youths under the aegis of the #DefendLagos announced plans to organise a counter-protest at the Lekki tollgate on Saturday.
On Thursday, the youth said they would go ahead with their plan to stage a protest on Saturday