Written by Staff Writer
Nigeria’s police fired tear gas Saturday at thousands of protesters marching to condemn the killing of two people and injuring of 11 others at an illegal toll booth on the Lekki expressway in the Lagos metropolis.
The government said two people were killed and 11 injured while attempting to break into a toll station.
More than 10,000 people in Lagos state dressed in black and carried banners and placards, demanding the resignation of the Lagos State Government for what they said was the lack of safety measures and responsibility in protecting lives and property.
“The Akara toll collection station was set up by a private individual. This, however, exposed us to trespassers and armed robbers who opened fire on the toll collectors,” Rivers State Police Command in a statement said.
Onlookers were filmed throwing tear gas canisters back at the police, who in return fired back.
Police spokesman Chike Oti confirmed the incident, saying: “Two were killed and 11 wounded while attempting to break into the toll collection station.
“Those involved in the killing are now being investigated by the police for necessary action,” Oti added.
Nigerian law does not recognize toll collection, but communities and communities under construction often organize and operate toll booths in isolated areas in exchange for funds.
The organizers said they would not back down from their cause in the face of threats by the state government to disperse the crowds.
“If the Lagos state government does not permit today’s peaceful protest, we will go back to the drawing board. This government will not be allowed to defame us by their draconian actions,” Sayyu Layinka, leader of the protest, said at the Lagos State Government Secretariat.
The protest began when protesters shut down some roads in the state capital and headed toward the state government headquarters. The protesters were met by tear gas and rubber bullets as they crossed the bridge near the Lekki toll point.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, sent a letter to Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on August 8, requesting an investigation into the incident.
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, in a tweet that read: “Those seeking to assassinate citizens are wicked enough. May God punish them.”