Global rights group, Amnesty International, has urged the Federal Government to protect the right of citizens to peaceful protest.
The AI was reacting to the #OccupyLekki protest where the security agencies had vowed to resist any attempt to embark on a peaceful protest in the state.
Amnesty also said security operatives must refrain from using force on protesters like it had occurred last October during the #EndSARS protests against police brutality in a string of tweets.
It wrote, “Reports say armed policemen surround #LekkiTollGate ahead of Saturday’s protests.
“Amnesty International is calling on all Nigerian authorities to demonstrate a commitment to protect the right to peaceful protest. Security agents’ previous attempts to repress peaceful demonstrations have led to human rights violations and abuses—# LekkiTollGate.
“The Nigerian government must ensure that when protesters exercise their right to freedom of assembly, it must be without fear of harassment or attacks by hoodlums or others opposed to the protests. Security operatives must refrain from excessive use of force on protesters. #EndSARS.”
The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing the alleged killing of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki toll gate had decided to hand over the tollgate back to its operators, Lekki Concession Company, after forensic experts submitted their report on the October 20, 2020 incident.
Four members of the panel including a youth representative, Rinu Oduala, faulted the panel’s decision but the chairman of the panel, retired Justice Doris Okuwobi, and four other panel members, acceded to LCC’s request to repossess the toll gate.
Subsequently, hashtags such as #OccupyLekkiTollgate and counter-protest hashtags such as #DefendLagos and #DemNoBornYourPapaWell trended online.
Both protests are slated for Saturday, but the Federal Government, the Lagos State Government and the Nigeria Police Force have warned against any form of protest in the Lekki toll gate area or any part of the state.