The Lagos State Government says it is intensifying efforts to ensure the planned #OccupyLekkiTollGate protest is averted and said it has met with traditional rulers, youth organisations and some civil society organisations so as to prevent a repeat of the October 20, 2020 protest that turned bloody.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso stated this on Thursday when he featured on an ARISE News programme, The Morning Show.
The #OccupyLekkiTollGate has been slated for Saturday, February 13 to protest the reopening of the toll gate after the controversial ruling of the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry in favour of the Lekki Concession Company, LCC, to repossess the toll plaza for repairs and insurance claims.
There are however fears that violence could ensue during the protest as some youth have also announced a #DefendLagos rally to hold at the same venue.
“Let us protect what the destroyers left behind while we rebuild Lagos. Join the ‘defend Lagos’ rally at the Lekki toll plaza,” read the #DefendLagos banner shared on various social media platforms.
Mr Omotoso, however, told ARISE News that the state government is engaging with people it “thinks can influence things so that we will not have the kind of carnage we had in October last year”.
“We all saw the carnage that happened in October last year. We saw how human lives were wasted including policemen, and because of that the Lagos State Government has been suing for peace,” Mr Omotoso told ARISE News.
“We have been meeting traditional rulers, we have been meeting youth organisation, we have been talking to civil society organisations, we have been engaging people we think can influence things for us not to have the kind of carnage that we had in October last year.
“Because Lagos the way it is now will require the peace that will make us grow our economy, will require the peace for Lagosians to display their creativity, to display all of those things that Lagos is known for, nobody wants to go back to that October last year scene again.
“So we are appealing to both sides not to cause trouble in Lagos, to allow peace to reign so that we can continue to look ahead, to focus ahead on the economic and social issues that are facing us, and this is going to be a big distraction if we allow it to go on.
“So we are appealing to both sides to please sheath their swords and embrace peace and to know that Lagos belongs to all of us and not just protesters.”
By Abel Ejikeme