The Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party PDP Lagos State Chapter, Engr Adedeji Doherty has called on the Babajide Sanwo-Olu led Lagos State Government not to threaten and intimidate youths who have planned to stage a peaceful protest on Saturday, February 13, 2021 consequent upon the planned reopening of the Lekki and Bourdillon toll plazas for business.
The Justice Doris Okuwobi led judicial panel had voted in favour of the reopening of the toll plazas, which some Youths in the state seem not to be happy about, seeing the planned move as ill-timed and insensitive on the part of the government.
In a move to thwart the planned protests, the Lagos State Government represented by the Attorney General of the state, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), the information and strategy Commissioner, Gbenga Omotosho and the state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, released a press statement stating in part that:
“The attention of the State Government has been drawn to the planned protest scheduled for Saturday February 13, 2021 at the Lekki Toll Gate for and against the opening of the Admiralty Toll Gate. The State is aware of Sections 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which guarantees the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. However, such right does not permit the violation of the rights of other citizens in the State”.
“While the State recognises the importance of exercising the rights to peaceful protests, the same cannot extend to blockage of roads or actions preventing other members of the public from enjoying their fundamental rights to move freely within the State. Any individual or corporate body that incites or condones any act leading to the destruction of public and private properties shall be prosecuted under the extant laws and in addition to any penalty the court might pronounce. Such person or body will be liable to compensate for any damage, which may arise as a result of the action or inaction of such person or body.”
In a swift reaction to the released statement, the Chairman People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Lagos State Chapter, Engr Adedeji Doherty stated, the Lagos State Government claims that the time of the protest is wrong!
He stated that wouldn’t it also be right to say, the time is also wrong for the reopening of the toll gate, baring in mind the fact that wounds and scars from the Lekki Tollgate shooting are still fresh in the mind of the public?
He also stated that the pronouncement of the Attorney General, the Commisioner and the APC led government sounds more like a threat on the organizers of the protest rather than a passionate plea to shelve or postpone the protest.
He reminded the state government, that it is really the job of the Police and Civil defense Corp to protect and guide the protesters during a peaceful protest so that organized infiltrators and politically financed hoodlums do not turn a peaceful and meaningful rally into a chaotic event.
Engr Doherty reiterated that, the Lagos State PDP would like to remind the ruling party and the Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration that their actions today will go down in history either positively or negatively as it concerns upholding the rule of law, free speech, freedom to congregate and the oppression of the citizenry’s fundamental human rights which we all know must be maintained in order to protect our young Endangered Democracy.
The APC led government has a choice but should realize that power is transient. The international community is watching Nigeria and Lagos State in particular, especially as it relates to the Economic situation and micro management of the Lagos State monthly resources.
He however adviced the Lagos State Government to open up a Public Hearing or propose a public referendum process in order to find out the feeling of the populace on this issue rather than ask for the cancellation of the protest while they go on with the opening of the toll plaza.