As Nigeria tries to end road violence, Lagos governor asks for calm

Lagos State governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Nigeria has called for a return to normality in his state, in a call that is aimed at consolidating reconciliation efforts to avenge the many deaths caused by the unrest caused by the recent incident at the Lekki Toll gate.

A video clip of the recent and deadly violence in the city went viral on social media. In the video, scores of people are seen throwing objects at the car of a female army officer, provoking the anger of angry Lagos residents.

The video was aired by local television stations, and in one scene there is a violent attack on a civilian who is caught and carried into a crowd of angry citizens. Other citizens also stand around the injured civilian, wounding him from behind. Soon afterward, Ambode and other top officials, including Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, visit the area to attend to the violence.

The order for the delay in tollgate collection was extended to the beginning of this week, and even then, lines are still very long. Even so, the Lagos government said, “to give peace a chance, government has decided to allow motorists to access the tollgate at their own risk.”

In a statement Ambode said, “Lagos should be business-friendly, hospitable and convivial but regrettably, the recent unpleasant experience at the tollgate has brought the whole state to a standstill, and undoubtedly must be the last straw. Today (July 9) I am appealing to all to support Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in establishing a resilient and robust National Judiciary as a tool for democratic process, guarantee peoples’ rights, and end impunity.

“This is a way of providing the much-needed respite to the government and residents of Lagos and promoting National reconciliation and to enable the resolve and conclusion of the ‘Lekki tension’ issue.

“I have been briefed by the Governor of Lagos State that emergency has been declared in the state and law enforcement agencies, particularly the Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS), have been put on red alert to prevent further outbursts of lawlessness.”

In his statement, Ambode said the country’s President Muhammadu Buhari had spoken of the nation’s “common destiny,” and also called for peace.

“Even in spite of the upsurge in the popularity of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and positive gains recorded by the government in the last two years, we are aware that there is no compromise whatsoever on the issue of the rule of law and the respect for law and order.”

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