BREAKING: Police Harass Channels TV Reporter At Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge

BREAKING: Police Harass Channels TV Reporter At Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge [WATCH]

By Wires Editor | The Trent on April 1, 2022
Lekki-Ikoyi toll plaza

Olu Phillips, a journalist with Channels TV, was on Friday, April 1, 2022, harassed by police officers at the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge.

Phillips, while giving an account of the incident alleged that the police officers acted on the orders of Yomi Omumuwasan, the Managing Director of the Lekki Concession Company.

Tolling had stopped at the bridge and at Lekki Tollgate, the epicentre of the October 2020 #EndSARS protest, following demonstrations by youths against police brutality, among others.

The LCC, some weeks ago announced the resumption of tolling operations at the toll gate. Omomuwasan at the time said tolling would commence on April 1, 2022, on the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge.

It, however, added that commuters plying the corridor would not be made to pay toll until April 15, 2022.

Omomuwasan had claimed that the resumption of services at the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge Toll Plaza followed extensive consultations with, and the support of key stakeholders including the residents’ associations, traditional rulers, community leaders, professional bodies, as well as the Lagos State Government.

But members of the Lekki Estates Residents and Stakeholders Association have denied this.

They have vehemently rejected tolling at the bridge.

The association made its position known in a letter to Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, dated March 27, 2022, and signed by LERSA chairman, Yomi Idowu.

The residents stated that the resumption of tolling would aggravate the sufferings of Lekki residents.

On Friday, Phillips and other members of the Channels TV crew were at the tollgate to give live updates on the resumption of tolling announced earlier by the LCC.

However, the LCC MD was said to have negated the choice of the Channels TV crew’s location as he insisted that filming will not be permitted given that the area belonged to the LCC.

From videos shared on the TV station’s Twitter handle, police officers blocked the cameras, seized the microphone, and harassed the journalists who were heard shouting, “leave me alone!”

Phillips, who said he was beaten and taken to the police van, noted that it took the intervention of some pedestrians and commuters who witnessed the incident and challenged the officers before he was released.

He said, “We saw this coming; we knew it was going to happen and we prepared for it. We knew some people were going to try to get overzealous.

“Some minutes ago, we tried to record and we had some policemen latching on us, pulling us and dragging us, taking away our cameras.

“They took away this microphone and took away my glasses. Permit me for squinting, they’ve taken away my broadcast earpiece so that I’m not able to do anything.

“This was happening live in front of the LCC MD who ordered that they should do that, we have him on record, we have him on film when he ordered that the policemen should harass us. They harassed us, beat me up, took me to their car, and after a while, released me. This is where we are right now, this is what is happening.

“It took the intervention of some Nigerians who had to park their cars to ask why journalists are being harassed while doing their job. This is the situation here and we hope it doesn’t degenerate while we do our constitutionally provided job.

“This is the spot we stood some 30 minutes ago when it started, we couldn’t have been obstructing traffic, we are professionals, we knew what we’re doing.

“What they didn’t want was for us to film this area. They said this area belongs to them. The MD of the LCC kept maintaining that this environment belongs to the LCC and that we couldn’t film.

“I tried to explain to him that this is a public area but he wouldn’t listen so he got his guys to manhandle us, blocked our cameras, took the camera away, grabbed my glasses so I was not able to effectively do what I was doing.”

However, he said other journalists were able to capture the harassment.
“When we tried to stream earlier, when the harassment started, other journalists and other online guys came here and triggered the recording.

“You can see that everybody is standing at ease, the policemen have dispersed, they’ve left where we are.

“The LCC chief security officer who asked us to leave this place earlier is no longer here, the MD who was just standing across the road also walked away because he was also being filmed by other journalists who were monitoring what the harassment looked like,” he added.

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