…As celebrities, activists, others hold car procession at Lekki Tollgate
…Journalist recounts experience
…Police arrest 26 suspects, remand at SCID, Panti in Lekki
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
One of the #EndSARS points of convergence during the 2020 protests across Lagos State, Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja, was calm and deserted, Thursday, as protesters failed to organise the planned one year memorial of the October, 2020 Lekki shooting.
Recall that Alausa, was a hotbed of the protest when protesters in their thousands occupied Lagos House, Office of the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Lagos House of Assembly Complex, paralysing commercial and vehicular activities for about three weeks running.
The organisers had earlier planned to stage demonstrations in Alausa, and Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, Ojota areas of the state to mark the first memorial of those killed during the struggle.
When Vanguard monitored the situation on Wednesday, at about 8 am to 4pm, it was observed that Alausa and Ojota Freedom Park were deserted devoid of any form of occupation as no activity whatsoever took place.
However, there was scanty presence of policemen around Alausa, who were apparently on routine duty.
There was also seamless vehicular movement as motorists have smooth journey plying the area without molestation by any group.
The situation was also the same at Ojota, Freedom Park, as residents and motorists went about their normal business activities without any hitch.
Meanwhile, a senior Police officer of the Rapid Response Squad, RRS, who spoke under anonymity, told Vanguard that over 40 suspects were arrested and taken into the waiting BlackMaria Police van at Lekki Till Gate area during the demonstration by protesters.
According to the source, “The state Commissioner of Police, CP, Hakeem Odumosu, after conducting personal interrogation on the suspects, magnanimously, ordered release of others who were able to identify themselves as having cogent reasons to be at the spot, while 26 others were transported to State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Panti, Yaba, for prosecution.”
journalist, simply identified as Sylvester Okoruwa, from Tribune Newspapers, who escaped arrest from the police narrated his ordeal thus: “I trekked from Lekki to Jakande area yet police still pursued the protester and as I was walking down the walkway, police man appeared from nowhere and hit me. Spontaneously, I shouted am a press man he said where is your ID card and I showed him and he left me off and arrested others and put them inside black Maria.
“From my experience today I can guess what happened on the night of October 20 2020 last year.”
Lekki Toll Gate
Earlier, rapper and actor, Folarin Falana, popularly, known as Falz The Bhad Guy, and Comedian Debo Adebayo, popularly known as Mr Macaroni, defied police order to join the car procession at the #EndSARSMemorial protest at Lekki tollgate in Lagos.
The protesters stormed the area despite a ban on protests in Lagos and the heavy presence of armed police personnel at the tollgate.
The celebrities and other activities who turned up at the tollgate with their cars were seen waving Nigerian flags from inside the vehicles and honking the horns while singing solidarity songs.
Some of the activists who spoke to newsmen stated that they will continue going to and fro the tollgate as their own way of protesting against the alleged killing of protesters at the tollgate on October 20, 2020.
The tollgate was the epicentre of the protests against police brutality and bad governance last year October.
Youths who gathered day and night at the tollgate were dispersed from the location by gun-wielding soldiers on October 20, 2020, an action which some quarters believe led to the loss of lives.
This was followed by the destruction of private and public properties by hoodlums in Lagos, an incident that informed the ban on protests issued by the police in the state.