Nigeria denies Lagos traffic stop security operation

Image copyright Eko Express Image caption Surveillance cameras captured the series of events at the toll gate

The Nigerian government has denied that an attack on an Opal toll gate in Lagos was a security operation, saying the alleged terror cell released footage from a fake operation.

Authorities in the country frequently deny reports about their security plan, and claim that most of the kidnappings in Nigeria are hoaxes.

The police confirmed on Wednesday that a shooting broke out at the toll gate in May.

They said they had never identified the gang and were investigating the incident.

Image copyright Eko Express Image caption The blockade in the area was a controversial one

The security experts and security analysts say the blockage of the toll gate at Lekki in southern Lagos is one of the safest locations to conduct a terror operation in Nigeria.

The body recovery parade took place in an open public space where residents gathered, which was a method previously used by the Islamic State group (IS) in Iraq and Syria.

“We confirm that in the last two weeks an ongoing investigation into the obstruction of a federal road to facilitate the movement of armed bandits has been completed,” read a statement from the Lagos police.

Earlier in May, several residents told the BBC they had received intelligence that five gunmen were planning to assassinate the traffic law enforcement officer who used to collect tolls at the toll gate.

Residents claimed one of the gunmen used to be a police officer working at the T.A. Moore Police Station in Lekki.

The attempt to assassinate the policemen was said to have led to two gunmen being killed by police on the night of the killing.

Ripples from the incident was sent to a man who claimed to be a former member of the Boko Haram insurgency in north-east Nigeria. He referred to himself as an expert on the Boko Haram, saying he is familiar with the area where the incident occurred.

The man insisted that although the total fee for the toll gate was N2,500 (£4.60), the attack was “not done for that purpose.”

“In the last one month the leaders of the street (T.A. Moore) established an organisation under the name of BHT where people are paid to engage in terror missions,” he said.

The man said the checkpoint on Okokomaiko road of Lekki could be viewed as a “milestone” on the way to the Middle Belt of northern Nigeria where the Boko Haram insurgency has been most active.

“While the government is trying to paint an image of an open area, they have created an enclave inside the enclave.”

“In these means, they can achieve their aims and objectives. The operation is seen as revenge on their families by the federal government.”

Lagos State Police Commissioner Imohimi Edgal had in May denied claims that he wanted to remove the security checkpoint at the Opebi Toll Gate.

According to him, the operation was set up on security reasons.

“We created a security fence which creates a 100m perimeter to prevent vehicular or human movement in the area,” said Mr Edgal at the time.

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