ABUJA—The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, yesterday, implored Lagos State Government to immediately suspend collection of toll on Lekki-Epe Expressway pending the determination of an Appeal Court case on the issue.
It also condemned the police and the Lagos State Government over the use of force against residents of the area who protested against toll collection that commenced Sunday.
These were contained in a statement issued and signed by NLC President, Mr. Abdulwaheed Omar.
The statement said: “The residents of Lekki had on Saturday, December 17, 2011, trooped out to publicly express their disapproval of three toll gates mounted in their community. They were armed only with placards and their conscience.
“For these Nigerians who were mainly the elderly, women, retired judges and soldiers to be set upon and brutalised by armed policemen and thugs for merely exercising their fundamental right to peaceful protest, is to commit a crime against the Nigerian people.
“There is no justification whatsoever for the police to use maximum force, including live ammunition on defenceless citizens of our country. To worsen matters, the police, reportedly led by Chief Superintendent of Police, Odumosu, chased the residents into their homes as if they are terrorists or there is war afoot in the country.
“The police hoisting some of their captives like prized war trophies before throwing them into their vans showed marked insensitivity and lack of respect for the rights of the victims.
“The Congress highly respects the Lagos State Government under Governor Babatunde Fashola, we were, therefore, taken aback when its spokesperson sought to justify this brutality by claiming that the protest was politically- motivated because a local Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, leader was among the protesters.
“This type of statement exhibits a high level of cretinism. Can a local PDP leader not live in Lekki? Will she be exempted from toll gate payment because she belongs to the opposition party?
“This type of insensitive statement is a throwback to the military era when ruling generals believed that Nigerians are incapable of independent thought and action.
“NLC demands of Governor Fashola to suspend the toll collection until the outcome of the Appeal Count case on the issue.
“We also call on him to ensure the release of all those detained and investigate the use of armed thugs and the role of Lagos government officials in the matter.”
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Labour asks Lagos govt to stop tolling on Lekki road