Area Boys Smash Phones, Harass Journalists as Lekki Residents Protest Toll Hikes
Hundreds of Lagosians residing within the eastern part of the state on Friday morning stormed the Lekki-Ajah Expressway in their droves to protest against the recent toll fare increment by the State Government and Lekki Concession Company, LCC, describing the hike as anti-masses policy.
Amidst heavy security presence, the protest, which was convened under the banner of Eti-Osa Development Forum, started around 9 am with the protesters gathering at the Lekki Penninsula Scheme 1 gate.
Armed with placards displaying various inscriptions including, “LCC is a fraud; “Say No to Lekki Toll gate”; LCC declare your statements of account,” the residents and motorists were said to be chanting a popular lyric of a song by Afro Legend Fela Kuti “International Thief Thief,” while protesting against the hike.
Aggrieved residents of the Lagos suburbs of Lekki and Ajah took to the streets Friday to protest the recent hike in toll charges at the Lekki-Epe Expressway and Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge tollgates.#OccupyLekkiTollgate #Lekki #Lagos pic.twitter.com/XAiFGfk90o
— The Guardian Nigeria (@GuardianNigeria) February 9, 2018
Tagged Occupy Lekki Toll Gate, the protesters demanded that the State Government halt the operation of the LCC, operators of the tolls, and show the financial statements of the company since the concession was bought by the state government.
Although the police initially prevented the protesters from marching on the streets, the commander, who led the security operatives, later decided to allow them, after an agreement was reached with the conveners that the procession will be peaceful and not get to the two toll gates.
LEKKITOLL GATE ;
Members of the the Lagos State task force have arrested several hoodlums inside lekki, disrupting the peaceful protest currently going on inside Lekki Phase 1.#OccupyLekkiTollGate #lekkitoll #LekkiTollGate #Lagos #lekki #nigeria pic.twitter.com/cWAphBr4yO
— SilverbirdTV (STV) (@SilverbirdTV) February 9, 2018
- Areas Boys Disrupts Protest
Minutes after the procession took off, it was learnt that hoodlums, better known as ‘Area Boys’ or ‘Agberos’, in an attempt to disrupt the peaceful protest, started to smash phones and cameras of protesters while journalists were harassed.
It was gathered that the hoodlums confronted the protesters in front of Med Plus on Admiralty Way and asked them to turn back towards the Admiralty Circle Toll Plaza.
Unperturbed by the actions of the hoodlums, the protesters raised their voices and demanded immediate action from the police before calm was restored.
In an attempt to forestall further confrontation, the police, it was learnt, swung into action; arresting the thugs. They were dumped inside a Black Maria vehicle and taken away to a nearby station.
- Police Earlier Warned Against The Protest
The Lagos State police command had earlier warned Lagosians to shelve the planned protest.
A statement it earlier issued read: “It has come to the knowledge of the Lagos State Police Command that some residents of Lekki/Ajah areas of the state are planning to protest the increase in toll fare by the management of Lekki Toll Plaza”.
“While the Command recognizes the right of citizens to carry out peaceful protest, the police will not standby and watch protesters take laws into their hands nor allow miscreants to hijack the protest.
“The Command is using this opportunity to inform and warn the group planning this protest for tomorrow, Friday, the 9th of February, 2018, not to block the Highway, the Expressway or any road for that matter.
“All those who want to participate in the protest must organize themselves in a peaceful manner in line with public protection and assembly law.
“The Command would not hesitate to use reasonable force to prevent any group of persons from blocking the road or breaching the public peace.
“The Command however, wishes to advise all to go about their lawful business peacefully on the Island and indeed every part of the state as adequate security is in place throughout the state”.
- What Is Responsible For The Protest?
theINFOnerds reported a fortnight ago that the LCC had announced that it will increase the toll tariffs being charged at the Admiralty Circle Toll Plaza on Lekki-Epe Expressway and the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge Toll Plaza with effect from Thursday, February 1.
- The new rates
At the Admiralty Circle Toll Plaza, motorcycles are now expected to pay N100; saloon cars and tricycles, N200 (eTag: 180); sport utility vehicles, N250 (eTag: 225); light trucks and 2-axle buses, N400 (eTag: 360); heavy duty trucks or buses with two or more heavy axles, N1000 (eTag: 900), and commercial danfo buses will pay N100 (90).
While at the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge Toll Plaza, motorcycles will pay N200 (eTag: 180); salon cars, N300 (eTag: 270); mini vans sports utility vehicles and light trucks, N400 (eTag: 360); and light trucks and 2-axle buses will pay N1000 (eTag: 900).