#OcuppyLekkiTollgate: Armed Police Beat, Arrest Protesters
Police officers in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria have descended on Nigerians organising the #OccupyLekkiTollgate protest, detaining and beating them as they arrive at the protest location.
Armed police officers, stationed to guide against the #OccupyLekkitollgate protest slated to hold Saturday, Feb. 13 against the reopening of the tollgate plaza have begun to beat and arrest protesters at the scene, HumAngle can report.
This came after warnings by both the Nigerian government and Lagos State Police command against any form of protest at the plaza. Both the government and the police had earlier threatened they would not tolerate any form of violence by the youths.
According to a video circulating on social media Saturday morning with the hashtag #occupylekkitollgate, over 10 protesters have been arrested and forced into the police Black Maria van.
“We have been arrested—over ten of us. We are kept in a black maria stationed at the toll gate now,” the protesters said in the video.
Kunle Ajayi, one of the protest coordinators, equally confirmed the development, saying, “Police have just arrested 10 protesters – Four ladies and six guys. They were beaten mercilessly and injured,” he said.
The video also confirmed a policeman’s voice, presumed to be the leader, instructing protesters to be placed into the Black Maria van and moved away.
Popular comedian, Debo Macaroni has also been arrested as seen in a footage on social media.
Since the early hours of Friday, armed police officers have begun to station themselves at the toll gate to guide against any form of protest.
HumAngle reported how tension rose ahead of the protest after an announcement to reopen the toll gate suffice.
Condemnation Trail Arrest of Protesters
While several human right activists, social media influencers and lawyers have taken to their social media accounts to condemn the arrest of peaceful protesters, human rights organisation Amnesty International (AI) has also joined in the clamour for justice.
AI wrote on its Twitter page, “Amnesty International is calling on all Nigerian authorities to demonstrate a commitment to protecting the right to peaceful protest.”
“Previous attempts by security agents to repress peaceful protests have led to human rights violations and abuses.”
“The Nigerian govt. must ensure that when protesters exercise their right to freedom of assembly, it must be without fear of harassment or attacks by hoodlums or others opposed to the protests. Security operatives must refrain from excessive use of force on protesters.”
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