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Lagos youth may embark on protest against Lekki toll gate reopening

By Idowu Abdullahi,

Barely five months after protest against police brutality and extrajudicial killings that rocked Nigeria, indications have emerged that another demonstrations may begin in Lagos State against the decision of the Lagos Judicial Panel to return the Lekki tollgate to its owners (LCC) for operations.

Though the last protest was marred with violence, killings, lootings, destruction of public, private property and arson, the youths argued that plans are being concluded this time around to storm the streets in a more organised manner in rejecting the panel’s reopening approval.

The aggrieved youths took to social media on Monday to express their displeasure and also mobilize other Nigerians for the demostration billed to hold at the weekend in Lekki toll gate.

They argued that it was saddening that the government through the panel was yet to achieve closure, deliver its mandate and compensate families of victims of Lekki tollgate shootings but approved reopening of the tollgate for commercial purposes.

Across the social media, some of the youths shared Display Pictures and banners to create awareness about the protest. Information on the posters indicated that the protest is billed hold on Saturday, February 13, 2020. Some of the posters have inscriptions such as “No justice, no reopening”, and “Occupy Lekki tollgate” among others.

It would be recalled that the state’s Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing the alleged killing of EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki tollgate approved the reopening of the tollgate on Saturday after the panel’s chairman, retired Justice Doris Okuwobi, and four other members voted in favour of reopening against four others who voted against it.

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).

Earlier in January, the panel turned down an appeal filed by the operators of Lekki tollgate, the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) to take back possession of the facility.

At the sitting, the chairman of the panel, Justice Okuwobi (retd) said that the facility cannot be handed over to LCC when the comprehensive forensic analysis report of the Lekki tollgate plaza undertaken by experts commissioned by the panel was yet to complete its task.

Okuwobi emphasised that the panel would only approve LCC request when it was certain that all necessary evidence that could further aid the investigation on the shooting at Lekki tollgate last year’s October have been taken away from the facility.

She disclosed that the panel was expecting the forensic analysts to submit their findings before it on the 2nd of February, 2021 and that the recommendations listed would be examined to avoid any act that could truncate the ongoing investigation to unravel what transpired at the scene.

To assist the panel more time on the request, the chairman adjourned deliberation on the request presented by LCC to take back Lekki tollgate to 6th February 2021.

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