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We won’t allow any protests — Lagos Police boss

Lagos State Police Commissioner, Hakeem Odumosu, said yesterday that the command would not allow the protests to take place. “Allowing both groups to carry out their planned protests will be counter-productive.  No protest in any guise will be allowed to take place on Saturday, February 13, 2021 (today),” Odumosu vowed.

Threats won’t deter us, organisers vow Insisting on the protest yesterday, organisers of the planned #OccupyLekki protest at Lekki toll gate listed the ban on crypto-currency as one of the reasons for the protest, beyond the ruling of Lagos Judicial Panel. In a statement, titled “EndSARS Season 2, Why we will #OccupyLekkiTollGate on Saturday – Campaigners,” issued in Lagos yesterday, the organisers explained that they were undaunted by threats by security operatives and counter-protesters under the aegis of #DefendLagos.

The statement read: “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 yahoo gate to be collecting 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 return all the barricades as our rulers have shown that they can never change. Since the #EndSARS, they are yet to effect 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 personnel has been brought to book. “Deaths have been established and many victims of the Lekki shootings have surfaced, yet neither the victims or 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 Lekki massacre, most of whom have either lost their limbs due to gun wounds or have become deceased.

“Despite overwhelming grounds of involvement of Governor Sanwo-Olu and ex-army chief, Buratai, in the Lekki massacre, neither of them has been brought to book. President Buhari instead appointed them ambassadors, so they won’t be arrested and prosecuted for genocide and war crimes at The Hague. “Despite #EndSARS, police brutality and extra-judicial killings continue unabated.  

Government has refused to provide employment for young people, yet they went ahead to ban the most promising source of income of young people — cryptocurrency.

“Nigerians are extremely poorer and yet the cost of food is on the high side, with increased cost of electricity that only produces darkness. Petrol price is being increased as marketers want it at N190 per litre. “Nigerians are no longer secure in any part of the country. When they are not being harassed or extra-judicially murdered by police, they are being kidnapped, maimed or killed by bandits.

“Today, the life of cows has become more valuable than those of Nigerians, even as our streets and communities have fallen to the rule of kidnappers and bandits. The Nigerian government now negotiates and enriches terrorists and bandits, while chasing after and 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 October 20 killings but that all involved in this heinous criminality be brought to book.

‘’Come out to demand the right to life and to exist in a country that respects our rights as citizens, abhors police brutality/extrajudicial killings, provides us with security, decent jobs with good wages and other such socio-economic rights that come with being a citizen.”

LCC appeals Meanwhile, Lekki Concession Company Limited, LCC, operators of the toll gate, yesterday, appealed to Nigerians planning to stage a protest at the Admiralty Circle Toll Plaza tomorrow to rescind their decision. It said another protest at the toll gate has the potentials of repeating the disruptions people suffered last year, in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest, explaining that it approached the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry for permission to repossess the facilities in order to halt further losses in its operations.

File: Protesters Managing Director of the company, Mr. Yomi Omomuwasan, who made the appeal, said: “We have lately been made aware from media reports that two groups, #OccupyLekkiTollGate and #DefendLagos/#DemNoBornDemPapaWell, are planning to demonstrate at our already destroyed Admiralty Circle Toll Plaza on Saturday, following the decision of Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry to hand the Toll plaza back to us.

“It was in a bid to halt further losses to our operations, especially given our subsisting financial commitments to local and foreign institutions, that we approached the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry for permission to repossess our facilities. “Our intent with the request was to enable us evaluate the damages, process insurance claims and rebuild the burnt facilities before the commencement of operations in order to continue to fulfill our loan repayment and other financial obligations.

 “We want to place on record that we cooperated fully with the panel and made a strong representation through our lawyers concerning the return of our assets, a request the panel graciously granted on Saturday, February 6, 2021. “We are, therefore, distressed by the reactions the decision of the panel has elicited from some members of the public and their resolve to again forcibly take over the already destroyed plaza on Saturday.

“We wish to use this medium to appeal to well-meaning Nigerians from across the divide to reconsider the decision, which has the potentials of repeating the disruptions we all suffered, especially bringing sad memories to the various families that were affected by the protest of October 2020. “It is also pertinent to restate and put it on record that, just like other businesses on the Lekki corridor, LCC is also a victim of the events, as assets worth several billions of Naira were destroyed during the protests. “LCC had nothing to do with the protest against police brutality, which was the central point of the youth agitation.

As an organization, we were unlucky to have been caught in the web.” He noted that the company was incorporated as a special purpose vehicle to build, operate and maintain the Eti-Osa Lekki Toll road under a 30-year concession.