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Outrage has trailed the torture of an Uber driver, Adedotun Clement, by security agents, who fired tear gas canisters to disperse protesters marking the one year anniversary of the #EndSARS campaign in the Lekki Tollgate area of Lagos State.
PUNCH Metro had reported that some protesters and journalists suffered varied forms of attacks from security agents during a clampdown on residents at the tollgate on Wednesday.
During the attacks, some protesters and journalists filmed some of the tense moments of assaults.
Several video clips showed security agents, including men of the Rapid Response Squad, the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Unit (task force), the Nigeria Police Force and the Lagos Neighborhood Safety Corps, among others, brutalising journalists and protesters.
One of the videos, which went viral, showed the security agents, particularly policemen and officers of the LNSC, subjecting Clement to dehumanising torture, as he struggled against being locked up in a Black Maria.
Despite his pleas for mercy to validate his claim of being an Uber driver, one of the cops slapped him, as the LNSC official pepper-sprayed his eyes.
Our correspondent observed as the security agents, including officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, towed away impounded vehicles from the protest ground.
Clement, who lamented the seizure of his car, told PUNCH Metro on Thursday that he was conveying a passenger from Ajah to a destination in Ikeja when he drove into the security agents who were dispersing protesters.
Describing the vehicle as his source of livelihood, Clement said he and his passenger abandoned the car and scampered for safety to avoid being hit by stray bullets.
said, “I drive a green Toyota Corolla with the number plate, AGL 796 GW. I was conveying a passenger from Ajah to Ikeja when I suddenly observed people running helter-skelter, as the police were shooting.
“The guy said I should wait, so I had to pull over and park by the roadside. Immediately the guy jumped down, I also jumped down, locked my car and ran to the riverside.
“After there was calm and I observed commercial vehicles operating, I returned to pick up my vehicle, but I didn’t see it.
“I saw LASTMA and LNSC officials jacking a motor up. I asked them for my car and they told me to go to the front to ask.
“As I was going, a neighbourhood watch officer followed me to the Black Maria and they started saying I should enter.
A music executive, Michael Collins, aka Donjazzy, who reposted the video clip showing Clement being assaulted on his Instagram page, wrote, “Tomorrow, they will tell us no policeman sprayed pepper spray directly into a man’s eyes. #endsars @jidesanwoolu”
One of the conveners of the #EndSARSMemorial car procession, Folarin Falana, aka Falzthebahdguy, while reacting to Collins’ post, slammed the government as disgraceful.
“Disturbing scenes. Disgraceful government. Maybe they ‘ll say this one too didn’t happen,” he wrote.
Another supporter of the #EndSARS campaign, Debo Adedayo, aka Mr Macaroni, demanded answers from the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
He said, “Chief Security Officer of Lagos State @jidesanwoolu They are calling you sir. A lot of us have been dehumanized, brutalized and oppressed.
“You held so many events this past week sir. You said your government loves the youth and wants to support the youths. Is this the support sir?”
The General Manager of LNSC, Ifalade Oyekan, in a statement, said his men involved in the torture had been summoned for internal orderly trial.
When asked how Clement and other victims whose vehicles were impounded at the tollgate would recover their vehicles, the spokesperson for LASTMA, Olumide Filade, said he was going to get back to our correspondent.
He had yet to do so as of the time this report was filed.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, said the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, would not tolerate anybody “who wants to do anything to tackle free speech.”
“He has asked the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, to apologise not only to the Uber driver, but to all the people who were maltreated on that day.
“I believe the CP has done that as I watched him apologising on television yesterday (Wednesday). I do not know whether people have been arrested, only the police can say that.”