Soldiers on Monday morning blocked off access areas planned for gathering by #EndSARS protesters in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Some of the soldiers were stationed at the popular Aya roundabout early with a roadblock and barricade, while armed policemen were also sighted stationed in front of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) headquarters with Armoured Personnel Carrier and water cannons.
Protesters had defied Sunday night rain and camped overnight outside CBN headquarters protesting police brutality and extra-judicial killings.
Also, a number of videos have surfaced online, showing the endSARS protesters in confrontation with mobile policemen, who turned on the protesters, beating them with what appear to be sticks in efforts to disperse them.
The deployment of the soldiers comes against an earlier statement by the Nigerian Army, that its annual ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ which is kicking off across the country this week is not 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, has 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,” the statement read in part.
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