Journalist and Political Scientist, Akin Osuntokun, has advised the Lagos State Government to permanently shut down the Lekki Tollgate as a goodwill to the EndSARS protesters and to honour the victims of the movement.
Osuntokun, who appeared on the Morning Show of Arise Television on Monday, disclosed that no sensitive government will consider the reopening of the Lekki Toll Gate, owing to the current state of the economy.
This website had reported that the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS, on Saturday approved the reopening of the toll gate which had been shut down since October 20, 2020.
The panel, which has been investigating reports of rights abuses by former Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), begun its public hearing on October 27, 2020 – seven days after the alleged shooting of unarmed #EndSARS protesters at the toll gate.
“If I were Lagos government, I will use it as a suggestion of goodwill to the young people who had staged the protest; who were involved justifiably in the sadistic harassment of SARS and leave it like that.
“There is no need to reinstate the collection of tolls on the gate. The government can afford it.
“Any Government that is sensitive to its perfection; how it’s perceived by the general public, should take that step not to reinstate the toll, especially in the harsh economic conditions.
“…Even put a banner permanently there that on the account of the EndSARS, in which some people lost their lives that you are now living that place permanently free for people to commute,” Osuntokun said.
The decision, however, to reopen the toll gate was greeted with opposition from four members of the panel and other Nigerians who noted that the ruling to reopen was insensitive and one that trivialises the tragedy of the EndSARS protest on October 20, 2020.
Beyond that, other Nigerians believed that the inconclusive deliberation of the judicial panel on allegations levied against the Military, Police and others were enough to keep the Lekki Toll Gate free from the collection of tax.
Still speaking on the matter, the political analyst disclosed that Lagosians had so far not experienced traffic gridlock since the closure of the toll gate.
Osuntokun, therefore reiterated that the government had more to gain if it publicly announces the shutdown of the gate for as long as necessary.
Moreso, members of the #EndSARS movement have fixed Saturday, February 13, to “occupy” the Lekki Toll Gate Plaza in a bid to stop its planned reopening by the Lagos Government.
While the hashtag “#OccupyLekkiTollGate” gains momentum on Twitter, a counter-protest with the hashtag #DefendLagos has risen to protest against the #OccupyLekkiTollGate protesters.