#EndSARS Memorial Protest: Police arrest journalist, protester at Lekki Toll Gate

TWO persons have been arrested by the Police at Lekki Toll Gate, the venue of the #EndSARS Memorial protest in Lagos.

According to the Punch, one of those arrested was said to be a journalist while the other was seen carrying a placard.

The arrested journalist told newsmen that he worked with LegitTV and that his phone, driver’s license and other documents were taken away from him.

Speaking from a Lagos State Task Force van where he was kept by the Police, the journalist who identified himself as Abisola, stated that he lost his ID card in transit.

However, Arise TV reported that four persons had been arrested as at 10.05 am on Wednesday.

It also said two of its reporters at Lekki Toll Gate were also harassed by the Police, though the officials later apologised to them.

Lagos State Police had earlier vowed to disrupt the protest currently being staged in major cities across the country in honour of those that lost their lives at the Toll Gate when soldiers stormed there to open fire on unarmed protesters on October 20, 2020.

In a statement signed by the State Police Public Relations Officer Adekunle Ajisebutu on Tuesday, the command said no form of street protest in commemoration of the #EndSARS anniversary would be tolerated in any part of the state.

He said the command would only allow indoor and virtual events in commemoration of the anniversary.

“On the contrary, the police will only allow indoor and virtual events in commemoration of the #EndSARS anniversary and will provide adequate security at the venue(s) if known. This is in recognition of the rights of every Nigerian to express his or her interest,” he said.

“We wish we could permit such street protests. However, intelligence at our disposal has revealed plans by some faceless groups or individuals to stage an anti-#EndSARS anniversary protest in the state on the same day.

“In view of the conflicting interest between the pro and anti-#EndSARS anniversary groups and threat to cause mayhem, the command once again warns both groups against any form of street protest between now and October 20, 2021, and beyond.”

The #EndSARS protests were held across the country in October 2020 against the activities of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)’s handedness. Young people demanded the reform of the entire Nigerian Police Force.

The demands of the protesters were: the immediate release of all arrested protesters, justice for all deceased victims of Police brutality, appropriate compensation for their families, setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of Police misconduct.

Others included: a psychological evaluation and retaining of all disbanded SARS officers before they could be redeployed and increment of Police salaries so that they were adequately compensated for protecting the lives and property of citizens.






     

     

    In response to these demands, the National Executive Council under the supervision of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with 36 state governors of the federation constituted judicial panels of enquiries to look into the allegations of Police brutality and to also make recommendations for appropriate actions.

    The ICIR can confirm that the panels sat in Lagos, Ekiti, Oyo, Delta, Osun, Ogun and other states in the country. Some forms of respite and compensation were given and awarded to victims of police brutality in Lagos, but not in many other states.

    Also, the Federal Government directed the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission to finalise a new salary structure for operatives of the Nigerian Police in line with the demands of the protesters.

    However, there is yet no reform of the Police as demanded by the protesters. 

     

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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