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Group condemns reopening of Lekki tollgate before end of investigation

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• Says decision attempt to cover up killings
• Restates call for independent panel of inquiry

A Non-Governmental Organisation, the Youth Rights Campaign (YRC), has condemned the decision of the Lagos State Panel of Inquiry on EndSARS protests to return possession of the Lekki tollgate to Lekki Concession Company (LCC).

It said the decision undermined the demand for justice by Nigerians, as the issues surrounding the tragic events of October 20, 2020 had not been resolved, pointing out that the decision was an attempt to deny the youths justice.

The group, in a statement, yesterday, signed by its National Co-ordinator, Adaramoye Michael and Secretary, Francis Nwapa, said that the Lagos State panel, on the basis of lacking independence and democracy, was not capable of ensuring justice and bringing to book all those culpable in the Lekki shooting and killing of protesters in the country before and on October 20, 2020.

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According to them, what motivated the panel’s decision is the revenue loss being experienced by LCC due to the closure.

“As far as we are concerned, the human lives lost at the tollgate are far more precious and valuable over the profit of a few murderous fat cats who from available evidence colluded with the murderous government to drown the youths’ revolt in blood.

“We hereby demand a reversal of this decision. Instead, we call for expeditious conclusion of investigation in order to ensure justice is speedily done in the interest of families and friends of victims of the killings.

“However, for the duration of the closure of the tollgate, we demand no loss of pay or jobs for the tollgate workers. Given the enormous profit the company has generated since 2011, it should have enough stored away to guarantee the pay and jobs of its workers.

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“We call on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) or their affiliates to immediately commence collective bargaining process with the management of LCC to guarantee the workers’ rights.”

While stating that arguments about how the closure or opening of the tollgate does not affect the cause of justice miss the point, the group said aside its reopening in the course of investigation serving as an insult to the memory of the departed, the Lekki tollgate itself was a perfect example of the bad governance and the official corruption of the rich and powerful that the EndSARS protests were essentially against.

The group, which accused the panel of shunning logic by not acknowledging dissenting voice of members of the panel and opposition of youth representatives before making its decision, said the Lagos State panel showed that the desire of the youths and working masses for justice and end to police brutality and better society could not be achieved within the framework of institutions of the ruling class and the capitalist system.

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