Lekki Toll Gate report: Nigeria’s Lagos governor calls for walk for peace for reconciliation

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Dolphins have joined security forces to confront force accused of brutality against them while clearing the gate

Lekki Toll Gate report: Nigeria’s Lagos governor calls for walk for peace for reconciliation

The governor of Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode, has called for dialogue and a walk for peace as armed soldiers guard the toll gate where a group of about 50 alleged heavily armed bandits have been present for a week.

The men have reportedly terrorised motorists by attacking other motorists at the bridge with axe and machete but have not responded to calls for their withdrawal, according to reports.

Tuesday’s one-day walk is expected to be led by Ambode and involves local community leaders and the leadership of the so-called audacious band of bandits.

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On Monday security forces engaged the bandits, with the state commissioner of police, Fatai Owoseni, describing the men as “anti-social elements who keep on attacking road users”.

Some of the men reportedly returned fire with automatic weapons.

The gunmen also reportedly burnt buses travelling along the toll gate, which led to petrol explosions, according to reports.

Police had earlier established a joint security taskforce, with the Nigeria army deployed to tackle the bandits.

Witnesses said marine police, immigration officers and the police had all joined in the force, which has been beset by problems.

Lagos state officials on Monday used armoured vehicles to move Lagosians to safety from the traffic gridlock snarling the roads around the toll gate.

A special adviser to Ambode, Akinyemi Oluwafemi, told reporters that police had declared a curfew during the operation to “carry out arrests and search for weapons in order to curtail the anti-social elements who are very troublesome, using the toll gates to kidnap and extort money from people”.

Road safety advocates told Reuters the operation was a counterproductive attempt to fan fears among residents.

In August, the government began clearing hundreds of thousands of people at the toll gate without explanation, leaving the area heaving with hundreds of the business’s employees for days, earning them the nickname “strike-makers”.

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