The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has described the arrest, humiliation and trial of #OccupyLekki protesters yesterday, as a sad reminder of what Nigerians went through in the hands of military dictators.
The PDP, which called for the immediate discontinuation of their trial, lamented that the irony of the Lekki, Lagos show of shame was that prominent personalities in the All Progressives Congress (APC) government, especially those in Lagos State were once human rights and pro-democracy activists.
According to the Lagos State Chairman of the PDP, Engr Adedeji Doherty, who reacted to this sad occurrence, in a release on Sunday morning, the PDP said “ Lagosians will never believe that a time will come in the State when citizens’ rights to peaceful protests will be muscled by a supposed democratic government.”
The chairman said it was an irony that a government that is pampering terrorists could send policemen armed to the teeth against civilians who only expressed their displeasure over a government decision.
Doherty said “the National Leader of the APC, Senator Bola Tinubu should recall that their rights to protest or freely congregate against the Goodluck Jonathan administration was not crushed with the Federal might when the PDP was in power.
“Consequently, the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu/ APC/Sanwo Olu led administration should realize that Power is transient.”
He said it was now clear that all that matters to the APC government of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was the billions of Naira being generated at the Lekki Toll Gate, and not the welfare of the people.
Engr Doherty asked why ressumption of collection of tolls at the Lekki Toll Gate will be more important to a government than the lives of those allegedly killed by soldiers during the last year EndSARS protest.
He also demanded explanations as to whether or not it was part of the mandate of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution to investigate cases of police brutality in the State, to order the commencement of operations at the toll plaza.
“When did it become the duty of a judicial panel of inquiry to order the resumption of collection of tolls at a Toll Gate, which was shut down owing to alleged killing of provision youths whose only offence is that they demanded that SARS policemen should stop killing them?
“Isn’t it now crystal clear that all that matters to the APC and Governor Sanwo-Olu is the blood money they are getting from the toll gate, with which they have been filling the insatiable appetite of their Lagos for money.
“Lagosians must therefore rise to put an end to this Shylock and autocratic government that won’t mind even turning the blood of the people to blood money.
“The Lagos State Government and most especially, the Members of the House of Assembly from Lagos Island, Eti-Osa, Ibeju-Lekki and Epe LGAs should open up a public hearing or Referendum on the reopening of this controversial tollgate to show the world that Democracy is really the order of the day in Lagos State, instead of trying to crush a peaceful protest without presenting any kind of alternative medium of diplomacy as it concerns the tollgate issue.
“As for those who were arrested among the protesters, we wish to tell them to remain strong, committed and resolute in their quest for a Nigeria where government does the right thing and citizens are allowed to ventilate their grievances against government freely,” the PDP chairman said.