Dismantle Lekki, Ikoyi tollgates, Bode George tells Lagos govt

•Wants those who ordered the shooting unraveled

FORMER deputy national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, has called for the immediate dismantling of tollgates at Lekki and Ikoyi where #EndSARS protesters were shot at Tuesday last week, while also calling for scrapping of the privately-owned AlphaBeta and Lekki Concession Company (LCC).

George made the call at a press conference held in his office in Ikoyi and attended by party chieftains and mem- bers on Monday.

While making the demand, among others, George said the choice of Lekki tollgate as the epicentre of the protests was symbolic about the ab- errations in the state, adding that Lagos was gutted from within and without as it had, for the past 21 years, perfected the crude system of cronyism, nepotistic fixation and cultish largeness.

He, however, urged that a monument be erected at the Admiralty Circle tollgate specifically where bullets rained on that black Tuesday, “to honour the young men and women who stood up in peaceful protests against the ills in our society.”

He also called for thorough investigation to unravel those who ordered the shooting of protesters at the tollgate.

In his speech, entitled: “Lagos State: The anger and the rage,” he demanded that advert signage monopoly be withdrawn forthwith and the title of Iyaloja be withdrawn from Shade Tinubu and be given to the deserving individual according to tradition.

He also asked the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), which he alleged had become the mi- litia wing of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, be reorganised and removed from the control of political actors.

Moreover, he also demanded that outrageous pension scheme for former governors of the state should be scrapped, including the al- lowances given to members

of the state House of Assembly.

Bode George also said there should be free education from primary to secondary school levels in Lagos State.

According to George, all the demands are the “irreducible minimum acceptable to placate the angry, restless youth, in order to restore peace, fairness and equity in the state.”

On the tollgates, George asked that they be disman- tled, especially that of Lekki, while a memorial should be erected in honour of the protesters.

“At the Admiralty Circle tollgate specifically, where bullets rained on that black Tuesday, a monument should be erected as a permanent memorial to honour the young men and women who stood up in peaceful protests against the ills in our society.

“The protesters were lawyers and doctors. Many were unemployed. There were ar- tistes and musicians. There were Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo and all ethnic stripes that make up the Nigerian federation. There were Muslims, Christians and many various faiths.

“They were together. They slept on that cold asphalt both in the rain and in the soaring sun. There were no discriminations. There were no quarrels of any kind. They raised their own money among themselves. And more importantly, they demonstrated admirable accountability that is lacking in the larger society.

“They called themselves the ‘Soro Soke’ generation. They have spoken out loud and clear. Yes, we have heard them. And their brave deeds can never be forgotten.”

George, while noting the general observation that when Lagos sneezes the rest of the nation catches cold, lamented that the seeds of degeneration sowed in Lagos is now sprouting across the country.

He described the response of the national leader of APC, Senator Bola Tinubu, to the outcome of #EndSARS saga as most insensitive and wicked.

“His reaction is most insensitive, cruel, reprehensible and wicked. He never

once commiserated with the families of the bereaved. He never showed empathy for the wounded and the dead,” George lamented.

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Speaking on the Lekki incident, the PDP chieftain said questions should be asked on who ordered that the lights be switched off before the military came as well as the removal of all the cameras from the tollgate, since the military had denied any involvement in the whole development.

As a way of fulfilling the demands of the youth, George said there should commence what he termed a marshal plan aimed at creating public work programmes to absorb the unemployed, recalling that such plan was employed by President Harry S. Truman to put his nation and Europe back to work through mas- sive public work projects after the devastation of World War II.

“Let start our own marshal plan by creating huge public work programmes to absorb the unemployed. After the devastation of World War II, President Harry S. Truman put his nation and Europe back to work through mas- sive public work projects.

“Roads were constructed, rail-lines sprouted every- where; dams, bridges, hous- ing projects, electrical grids and various public works arose everywhere, removing millions from the unemployment rolls. Skill acquisition programmes that used to be the hallmark of FIIRO should be resuscitated.

“When our youths are employed, when obscene pension schemes of immediate Lagos State governors are scrapped, when everyone is given equal opportunities to exert his God-given talents when the ogre of nepotism and cronyism are removed, we would have satisfied the demands of the youth.

“Finally, let justice prevail over the graves of the Lekki toll gate heroes and the millions of the members of the ‘Soro Soke’ generations still wasting away in our cities and the slums. May God bless this nation and heal our wounds,” he said.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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