Friday, 1 May 2020

Lockdown protest: Ibeju-Lekki youths demand release of 100 protesters arrested in Lagos

Youths in Ibeju-Lekki Area of Lagos State have called on the Lagos State government and the Commissioner of Police to unconditionally release about 100 of their colleagues who were arrested by men of the Lagos State Police Command for alleged protest against the lockdown order on Monday.

DAILY POST reported that some youths of Eleko community in the Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos State on Monday staged a violent protest over the COVID-19 lockdown.

The protesters were said to have engaged in a face-off with security officials who were trying to enforce the lockdown in the area. They alleged preferential treatment for expatriates by the operatives.

The police were said to have arrested some youths during the protest for allegedly attacking some police officers.
 


The youths, under the aegis of Ibeju-Lekki People’s Forum, however, debunked the police claim that the arrested youths were caught protesting against the lockdown directive and stay at home order.

The youths said the protest was basically against foreign and local workers in the factory of Dangote refinery, who were allowed by the order of Akodo Divisional Police Officer, Akodo to move freely and carry out their daily activities despite the lockdown directive, while the indigenes were barred from moving around.

In a statement signed by the youths’ leadership with the captioned: “Re: Protest and attack on Police Officers and some staffs of Dangote Refinery by youths in Ibeju-Lekki: A call for the immediate release of 100 (one hundred) innocent youths arrested during the random operations by men and officers of the Lagos State Police Command,” the youths said those arrested and currently detained are innocent, adding that the culprits that attacked the police were miscreants who had run away before the arrival of police enforcement team.

The statement reads: “This press release has become necessary in view of the sponsored, false, unrelenting and misleading media attacks against the people of Ibeju-Lekki and particularly youths. We would ordinarily not have issued this press release as the case and all other matters arising thereto are mob actions and actions of miscreants who are hell-bent at giving the community a negative name. However, we are constrained and compelled to puncture the ‘half-truths and misleading’ story in a bid to inform the public and set matters straight. We also condemn in all its entirety the attack on staff of Dangote and some police officers.

“First and foremost, it must be stated categorically that the protest was carried out by some miscreants who are not residents in the community and left the scene of the crime immediately after they were dispersed by the police.

“Secondly, the police who were overpowered by the angry protesters ran for dear lives only to return after a few hours and began to indiscriminately arrest innocent citizens.

“Thirdly, the police went as far as entering the private apartments of some indigenes of Eleko, Museyo, Idado, Orimedu, Magbon Alade, Akodo and Idasho communities to arrest people in front of their houses, seized their phones at gun point.

“The police have so far arrested over 100 youths and dumped them at Area ‘C’ Command, Kafaru Tinubu House, Ojuelegba, Lagos State, without access to their families and their lawyers

“The police of Area ‘C’ Command, Panti, Lagos State Police Command and the PPRO all denied their lawyers access to the over 100 youths arrested by the police. Information reaching their lawyers and family members has it that they were subjected to tortures, hunger, starvation and inducement to make false confession that they were at the scene of the crime.

“We condemn the continuous arrest and detention of our youths as they are peace loving and absolute respecter of the law. While we also condemn the attack on police officers, we urge the Lagos State Commissioner of Police to immediately release the arrested youths and tender an unreserved apology to the arrested youths and their families for detaining them more than the time allowed by law.

“It must be stated here that the over 100 youths arrested and detained are only being hounded, pilloried, detained, oppressively punished and FORCED to implicate themselves and other indigenes of the community.

“As at the time of writing this press release, we state categorically that about 20 youths are still missing, 3 are fatally injured and lots of people are displaced due to the action of the police.

“It is worthy for us to state it clear that really and truly, there was a face-off between the police and some miscreants in Ibeju-lekki. The police on their part succeeded in dispersing the angry protesters and on further investigation, it was revealed that the protest broke out when some foreigners and some Nigerians who claimed to work with Dangote Refinery were allowed by the DPO Akodo to move freely and carry out their daily activities despite the lockdown and some people in the community were not allowed to move around in the name of the lockdown. So, in solidarity with the masses, the protesters took to the street.

“In the meantime, we strongly call on the Lagos State government to prevail on the Commissioner of Police to release the youths so that they can be reconciled with their families.”

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