Some Nigerians on social media have queried Federal Government for ordering arrest and detention of some suspected #occupylekkitollgate protesters picked up this morning at Lekki toll gate.
The fear was rife that #OccupyLekkitollgate protesters and “#DefendLagos” also trending on social media platforms might clash and government wanted to avert the incident.
Al Jazeera reported Nigerian police beat and arrested demonstrators on Saturday as a small group protested over the reopening of the site where activists denouncing police brutality were shot last year in the commercial capital, Lagos.
Rights group Amnesty International and witnesses said soldiers opened fire on protesters on October 20, killing at least 12 people at a toll gate in the city’s affluent Lekki district and another area.
Nigerians are angered that instead of arresting bandits and other insurgents wasting lives and properties, the Government has arrested protesters are exercising their constitutional rights under a democratic setting.
Nigerians have condemned the arrest and have called for their release using different hashtags; #EndBadGovernanceInNigeria, #EndPoliceBrutality, #EndSARS, and #Lekkitollgate.
Some commentators faulted the government for sitting down with Northern bandits to negotiate, but choose to arrest peaceful protesters at Lekki Toll Gate.
Rapper Falz has reacted to the arrest of popular Instagram comedian, Mr Macaroni and many other #OccupyLekkiTollGate protesters by the police.
In an Instagram post he shared, the singer stated that the arrest of the protesters showed the Nigerian government is not concerned with upholding the country’s democracy or the Rule of Law.
Falz said that the show of force by the police was meant to make the protesters fear for their lives.
He added that while there is nothing to lose at this point, the Nigerian government should be ready for the consequences of these actions.
He wrote @mrmacaroni1 and a number of other innocent Nigerians have just been arrested at the Lekki Toll Gate for exercising their fundamental human right to protest.
”The Nigerian government has shown by this senseless act that it is not concerned with upholding our democracy or the Rule of Law.
”They are basically showing that they are not interested in serving justice as regards the 20th of October incident.
This show of force is supposed to make us fear for our lives, but the life we dey live no kuku get meaning before.
Absolutely nothing to lose at this point. They better be ready for the consequences of these actions.
Recall that the protesters were whisked away in police vans as the Lagos state police command and the federal government earlier warned that the protest will not hold.
On Thursday, February 11, the Lagos State Government and the State Police Command warned against the planned protest tagged #OccupyLagosLekkiTollGate.
“Allowing both groups to carry out their planned protests will be counterproductive,” Odumosu was quoted as saying by local media. “No protest in any guise will be allowed to take place on Saturday.”
Nationwide protests against police brutality were largely peaceful until the October 20 shooting, which sparked international condemnation and calls for the authorities to refrain from using excessive force.