National Union of Road Transport Workers and other labour groups rallying against the police for shooting seven people on Saturday during the opening ceremony of the new Lekki-Epe expressway
Police fire tear gas in Lagos as protesters honoring victims of Lekki toll gate shooting spill on to streets
Jubilant protesters with placards and drums have poured onto the streets of Lagos after a national union of road transport workers (NURTW) called for the public funeral for seven protesters killed in a shootout with police after an anti-tollgate demonstration on Saturday.
Police officers are shown in video footage firing live ammunition at protesters after the fatal shooting.
Police said in a statement on Sunday that they recovered a gun at the scene and arrested eight people, although rights activists say that police shot rubber bullets and two men have been seriously injured in the aftermath.
NURTW leader Michael Oluwole, who made the funeral call, claimed the police had been ordered by high-ranking officials to suppress the protest.
“That order has been confirmed by a high-ranking civilian administration source,” Oluwole told protesters gathered in the Nigerian capital on Sunday.
“With these facts we have no choice but to organize public burial for our fallen brothers.
“All the government can do is to promise an all out probe into the whole ugly incident,” he added, to wild cheers and clapping.
Police had arrested 34 people after the protest against the toll gate that had been set up to collect N50 (£0.21) for every vehicle entering the high-end Lekki area of the city, starting Friday.
The area around the toll gate is home to a huge residential and commercial complex with shopping malls, cinemas and high-end restaurants, a short walk from the state’s main international airport.
Thousands of protesters mobilised to stop the traffic that was traditionally backed up through the area because of the need to pass through the toll gate.
After protesters responded with tear gas to halt traffic, the police opened fire and the NURTW and other labour groups charged into the streets to fight for their demands.
The violence led to the burning of several police vehicles on the roads.
The government blames the violence on the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), which has been demanding the removal of the toll gates.
The governor of Lagos state, Akinwunmi Ambode, described the violence as “unacceptable” but has not ruled out a possible explanation of state-sponsored killings by the police and the toll gate.
Last month, the governor ordered that 45 people killed in clashes with riot police and other security officials who attempted to re-establish roadblocks on a road leading to the state’s main international airport for re-examining their deaths.