Abuja residents and #EndSARS protesters were shocked to find soldiers, Police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps men positioned strategically on AYA-Nyanya-Mararaba Road leading to the Federal Capital Territory from Nasarawa State to abort further demonstrations by #EndSARS protesters.
A check by Persecondnews reports shows that military men mounted were stationed at the popular AYA roundabout as early as 7.00 am with a roadblock and barricades at the exit to service lanes on both sides of the road.
A handful of protesters had gathered about 9.30am and were engaging the police and soldiers peacefully, while passersby and roadside hawkers were seen plying their trade at Nyanya under bridge.
However, at 11.00am on the same Nyanya road, there was an altercation between Police and #EndSARS protesters while armed policemen also beat up some protesters in the area.
Persecondnews reports that trouble began when the protesters waved the Nigerian flag and tried to assert their right to lawful and peaceful assembly as enshrined in the Constitution.
In the ensuing encounter, a police officer went for a club and tried to hit one of the leaders of the protesters.
The stalemate caused traffic gridlock on the ever busy Nyanya-Keffi road while the soldiers deployed ostensibly to protect the Mogadishu Army Barracks were battle-ready.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army had on Sunday announced that its ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ was kicking off across the country but denied that it is targeted at the #EndSARS protests.
A statement issued by the Army Spokesperson Musa Sagir on Saturday noted that the exercise, scheduled to commence from October 20 to December 31, 2020, had “no relationship with any lawful protest under any guise whatsoever.’’
“For the records, Exercise Crocodile Smile is a yearly exercise in the Nigerian Army calendar/forecast of events which traditionally holds from October to December of each year,” it said.