Lagos government ‘arrests’ leaders of PWDs protesting against tricycle ban
Officials of the Lagos State government have arrested leaders of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) who had gone to the government house to protest against the restriction of tricycles in some parts of the state on Tuesday, a social advocacy group, Enough is Enough, has alleged.
The protesters, in their hundreds, had stormed the government house in Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday and vowed to remain there until they get an audience with the governor. They had been ignored in an earlier protest to the governor’s office.
Enough is Enough (EIE) in a series of tweets yesterday said the protesters were dispersed with tear gas in the early hours of Wednesday. “At about 9:00p.m. yesterday (Tuesday), the security guards hired to protect the PWDs from unprovoked harassment were arrested and taken to Area F,” the group said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The police came back to beg the citizens to leave as their presence was embarrassing the government. About midnight, the external lights were turned off but the over 600 PWDs stayed still. At 2:00 a.m., five of their leaders were arrested and tear gas used to disperse the others,” it added.
However, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Gboyega Akosilie said the state government did not order the arrest of any of the protesters. “I am not aware that anybody was arrested. The state government did not order the arrest of anybody. We saw them at the gate yesterday, but nobody touched them. Our government does not discriminate against people. Protesters are entitled to peaceful protest. Nobody was arrested on the order of the state government.”
The state government, on February 1, began the enforcement of its decision to restrict the activities of commercial motorcycles and tricycles from major roads and bridges in the state.
Although the decision resulted in untold hardship to citizens, the government has refused to back down from its decision.