Heavily armed security operatives from the Lagos State Police Command, the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Airforce and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps on Monday morning barricaded the entrancse to the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, venue of the RevolutionNow protest spearheaded by Omoyele Sowore.
Sowore, the candidate of African Action Congress (AAC) in the last presidential election was on Saturday picked up by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) from his home.
Police patrol vehicles, including those of the Rapid Respond Squad (RRS) numbering over 20 and Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) were also stationed at the two main entrances to the stadium.
The protesters started arriving the venue for the take-off of the demonstration as early as 8.40 am. Some protesters wearing orange caps converged under the stadium bridge without displaying banners and placards.
The security operatives prevented employees of the National Stadium, students of the National Institute for Sports (NIS) and members of the public who had come to train from gaining access into the stadium.
Speaking with News Agency of Nigeria in a telephone conversation, the DCP, Operations in the Lagos State Command, Mr. Mohammed Ali said the protesters failed to obtain the necessary permit to carry out the planned protest.
“Their planned protest is unlawful. They did not obtain permission for the protest. If they say they have the permission, let them show it. Any one that foments trouble will be dealt with according to law,” Ali said.
Few hours later, policeman fired tear gas to disperse the protesters who had converged on their hundreds. The activists condemned the action of the security agents, describing it as an attempt to break up a democratic protest by force.
Similarly, sporting activities at the Kwara Stadium Complex, Ilorin in the early hours of Monday were also disrupted by the presence of heavily armed men of the Nigeria Police and other security agencies.
Some athletes who had arrived at the stadium for training were reportedly turned back by the Police, leaving them stranded in and around the stadium gate located at the popular Ibrahim Taiwo Road in Ilorin.
The facility was reportedly slated as the meeting point for a protest march organized by Sowore and other activists to press home their demand for a revolution in Nigeria.