We demand the immediate and unconditional release of all detained #OccupyLekkiTollgate protesters, who were inhumanly beaten, arrested and detained by the Police on Saturday, February 13. At the moment, scores of detained protesters are denied access to lawyers. The live videos of moments of their arrest, depicting protesters beaten down with batons, are a horrific testament to the disguised dictatorship in Nigeria. We waste no words as we condemn the Lekki Police affair as brutish, unlawful, and completely unacceptable. 

It is within the constitutional rights of the protesters to protest apparent injustices and canvass public support for their equally legitimate demands. The Police’s repression of peaceful protesters is a clear show of contempt by this regime for the same Constitution it is quick to build its legitimacy on. 

This round of protest at the Lekki Tollgate Plaza was a reaction to the order granted by the #EndSARS Panel set up by the Lagos-State government to investigate the massacre that occurred in Lekki on October 20, 2020, among other tasks. This order was desperately procured by the Lagos-State government because the panel did not form a quorum at the time the order was granted, a process that excluded both of the youth representatives on the panel. Meanwhile, the Lekki Tollgate is still a subject of an ongoing investigation. This order has in it every seed of provocation to mass action and every proof that the panel has been heavily compromised by the state. 

RRS officers at Lekki Toll Gate Plaza

Today’s protest, a legitimate action, has been heavily repressed by policemen that pick protesters into a fleet of waiting “Black Marias”. This is another example, in a hundred, of the contempt the regime of Major General Buhari (Rtd.) has for the Constitution or the Rule of Law. It is this kind of thuggish disposition, which brings state’s force of coercion to bear on peaceful protesters, that represent the government as a Committee of Hoodlums, against every failed effort to pin such description on peaceful, unarmed protesters.  

We call on working people of Nigeria not to just observe these atrocities of the ruling class, but to lend solidarity to the protesters in form of a general strike. This would entail compelling the leadership of the NLC and TUC to declare a 48-hour general strike in support of democracy, and the broad swathe of economic demands for job creation and reduction in the salaries of political office-holders that are being raised by some of the protesters. The repression by this government knows no bounds and is tightening its noose around the neck of the people; We call for a collective action of the working people and youth to stop this oppressive state on its track. 

We reiterate our demand for the immediate and unconditional release of all arrested protesters. We equally call for a large discussion among protesters and #EndSARS advocates or supporters to chart the way forward, as there can be no submission to tyranny. 

Dagga Tolar

Spokesperson, MSA