EndSARS memorial: Pandemonium as Lagos police disperse protesters, brutalise journalists at Lekki Tollgate
CP pledges to investigate brutality against journalists
There was pandemonium, yesterday, as men of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Lagos Police Command fired teargas to disperse protesters, who gathered at Lekki Tollgate to mark the second anniversary of the #EndSARS Protests.
The protesters led by Adebowale “Debo” Adedayo, known by his stage name Mr. Macaroni and Folarin Falana, better known by his stage name Falz had gathered at the scene around 9:20.a.m. with placards and five coffins but were dispersed by 10:29.a.m., while they were already moving out of the place.
The Guardian reporter and others covering the event were also brutalised by the police.
Although the protest was peaceful, a police team led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Oludotun Odubona, warned the protesters to leave the scene on the ground that the police were also victims of End SARS. “Our lives also matter, we were also victims so, you guys should leave,” they said.
Barely eight minutes after the warning, the police started firing tear gas and beating some protesters, who had already dropped the coffins and were leaving the scene.
Speaking with The Guardian, Adedayo said: “We want justice and that is what we are asking. We want the government to understand that it swore an oath to protect the people. Those that killed our brothers and sisters must be brought to book. There are some still in prison as a result of the End SARS protest. We want them freed. We need justice.
“The government inaugurated a judicial panel and the panel in its recommendations, confirmed killings at the toll gate, but none of the recommendations has been met. That is why we are here. The government must be accountable and fulfil its promises.”
Speaking at the venue, Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), who arrived later, said: “The way forward is to completely get rid of the mentality that brought about SARS and to strengthen the way that got rid of SARS.
The people that carried out the massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate are well known. We know those that put out the light and the person who removed the camera. We are identifying the soldiers who came from Bonny camp to start the shooting. We know that Tukur Buratai and Muhammadu Buhari as the Commander-in-Chief and Army chief respectively gave the order. They did it to the Shiites. So, everyone identified as an accomplice in this killing must be identified and punished, and nobody would ever do this again.
“The killings and the manner they disposed of the bodies that some were never found; the way they threw some in the water and buried others in unmarked graves was sad. We have information on some of the injured victims and those mentally ruined by that experience.
“The worst part of the killing was that some of those killed were displaying the Nigerian flag and singing the national anthem. All of them must be punished.
“No business must be carried out in the Lekki Toll Gate, it must be a museum of resistance and the picture of the people that resisted the government and those who were killed should be displayed.”
MEANWHILE, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi has promised to investigate the assault on journalists covering the protest.