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JUST IN: Police beat, injure, arrest 10 #OccupyLekkiTollgate protesters in violent crackdown

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No fewer than 10 protesters have been arrested by security operatives at the Lekki toll gate, one of the coordinators of #OccupyLekkiTollgate has said.

Kunle Ajayi told our correspondent that the protesters were detained in a black maria and are about to be taken to an unknown location.

“Police have just arrested 10 protesters – Four ladies and six guys. They were beaten mercilessly and injured,” he said.

In a video, one of the arrested protesters said,

“We have been arrested. Over ten of us. We are kept in a black maria stationed at the toll gate now.”

The Federal Government and the police had earlier warned youths who planned to protest at the Lekki tollgate on Saturday (today) to have a rethink and shelve the protests.

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But the young Nigerians, under the aegis of #EndSARS Season 2 and #OccupyLekkiTollgate, vowed to defy the government’s order.

The other group, #DefendLagos withdrew from the protest, noting that it was in accordance with the government’s directives that no protest should hold.

The #EndSARS Season 2 and #OccupyLekkiTollgate said their action was informed by the decision of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry allowing the Lekki Concession Company to reopen the Lekki tollgate.

The #EndSARS protests had spread across the country in October 2020 to register the youths’ grievances against the alleged atrocities of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force.

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The protest, which gained massive international attention, came to a halt on October 20, 2020, when heavily armed soldiers allegedly shot protesters at the Lekki tollgate.

The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing the alleged killing of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki tollgate had, on Saturday, approved the reopening of the tollgate after about four months of investigating the Lekki shootings.

However, four out of the nine members of the panel faulted the report of the forensic experts hired to comb the scene for evidence.

The four members who faulted the forensic report also rejected the application by the Lekki Concession Company, operator of the Lekki tollgate, to take possession of the facility, which had been shut down since the probe of the shootings started.

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The four members who rejected the forensic report are the two representatives of the civil society – Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) and Ms. Patience Udoh; as well as the two youth representatives on the panel – Rinu Oduala and Temitope Majekodunmi.

But the chairman of the panel, retired Justice Doris Okuwobi, and four other members of the panel acceded to LCC’s request to repossess the tollgate.

The chairman was backed by Segun Awosanya (popularly known as Segalink), Oluwatoyin Odusanya (Director, Citizens Rights), DIG Taiwo Lakanu (retd.) (representing the police), and Lucas Koyejo (from the National Human Rights Commission).

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