Emmanuel Thomas l Thursday, October 20, 2022
LEKKI, Lagos, Nigeria – Activities marking the October 20, 2020 massacre in Lagos when officials of the Nigerian Army opened fire on unarmed youths waving their flags peacefully at the Lekki Toll Gate, demanding an end to police brutality, extra judicial killing and better welfare package for the Nigeria Police were held today.
The procession walked through the Lekki Toll Gate with coffin, symbolizing Nigerians who lost their lives, following directive by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the Nigerian Army to move to the Lekki Toll Gate to disperse the peaceful protest.
The first procession walked through the Toll Gate, now tagged ground zero, which the committee set up by the Lagos State Government had recommended should be named Lekki Memorial Plaza in honour of those massacred without any rancour, led by Debo Adebayo better known as Mr. Marcoroni.
Another procession followed, led by Folarin Falana. The procession was very orderly but the decision of those bearing the symbolic coffin to kneel down at the toll gate and drop the casket on the road seemed to have infuriated policemen on duty who started shooting teargas to disperse the procession, which also had in attendance, Omoyele Sowore, the Presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC.
Speaking on the memorial walk, one of the organisers, Mr. Debo Adebayo, better known as Mr.Marcoroni described those massacred by the Nigerian Army as fallen heros, which he said must know that they have not been forgotten.
He said the committee the Babajide Sanwo-Olu Government set up made recommendations, which are yet to be implemented by the governor. Recommendation such as compensation for families and naming of the Lekki Toll Gate as Lekki Memorial Plaza were not implemented. He said those in the procession are not fighting government but “we are only saying that we deserve something better”, he said.
In his own remarks, Folarin Falana, better known as Falz said the struggle will continue peacefully and that the task of government remains to protect the people and serve the people. “We are going to be here next year and ask them when they will implement the recommendation”, he said adding that the conduct of the youths has remained the same.
“The Nigerian youths has been most consistent, we were not violent throughout all their violence, they will not touch anybody now because it is election time, they are looking for votes.
“But they must know that before becoming a police officer, a governor, you are first a Nigerian, if Nigeria is good today, it is good for everybody. The Nigerian youths have remained consistent, we have never disrespected anybody. Even when they fight us, we have not retaliated”, Mr. Falz said.
Also speaking, Feyikemi Abudu of the feminist coalition urged Nigerians to get their PVCs and vote adding that it is the people that are in govt that make the decision. “We don’t want to make trouble, we are not even disturbing anybody. We are in election year, besides nobody is causing trouble.
“People died, people were shot, people are still receiving treatment for bullet wound”, she said, adding that no justice has been done for people who died since no responsibility has been taken.
“If they acknowledged it, then somebody has to be held responsible. People are more aggrieved now, because of inflation, the situation in the country, flooding and different issue and yet no action and it is like you are on your own”, he said, adding that that the attitude of the Nigeria Police has not changed.
“If there is no reform, how will things change, you cannot just change the name of a unit and expect change in attitude”, FK Abudu said.