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I joined #OccupyLekkiTollGate to save lives of protesters, says Mr Macaroni

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DEBO Adebayo, popularly known as Mr Macaroni, has revealed in a video that he participated in the #OccupyLekkiTollGate protest on Saturday in order to save the lives of demonstrators.

The video was released on Sunday shortly after he was freed from police custody alongside other youths over their involvement in the #OccupyLekkiTollGate protest.

He said despite receiving numerous calls from his parents, siblings and friends not to participate in the protest, he joined in solidarity with Nigerians who had come out to protest.

“The only reason I went there was because I knew people would be there and in good conscience…I knew people could die and I can confirm it that if words did not get out, people would have died because nobody would have known where anybody was or who picked up who,” he said.

According to Adebayo, the security operatives took them to Adeniyi axis of Lagos where they were beaten and stripped naked and their phones destroyed.

The 28-year-old comedian and activist, who was an active participant in the #EndSARS campaign in October 2020, said they were told that had the protest occurred at night, they would all have been killed.

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“They took us to Adeniji where we were beaten and stripped naked. Everyone was beaten. These people don’t care about anyone. They beat me, saying I will get sense by force. They also destroyed my phone,” he said.

However, he noted that the continued clampdown on protesters woukd not stop him from speaking out about the inherent ills in the society.

“The country’s current situation is a ‘deep shit.’ Everyone is scared for their lives. When we were picked up, we were taken to Adeniji, we were beaten and stripped naked,” he said.

Debo dismissed allegations that he was being bankrolled by politicians, stressing he had never collected money from former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar to protest.

“I don’t believe in curses. But for anyone saying l collect money from Atiku or whoever it is, that’s their business in the first place.

“Two, if l did not collect money from anybody, you will not make it for the rest of your life. Your children will suffer. I know some believe that. But those that know me understand that I have been speaking for myself and people around me right from secondary school days.” he further said.

More than 100 officers, including personnel of the police force and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), had been deployed to the tollgate on Friday evening, in line with the directive by the Lagos police commissioner that no protest would be allowed to hold.

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More than 30 youths were arrested at the Lekki toll gate venue of the protest, and arraigned before a mobile court in Yaba, Lagos on Saturday.

Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

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