Soldiers/Police Bar RevolutionNow Protesters, Barricade National Stadium Lagos 

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Hyacinth Chinweuba

Armed security operatives Monday barricaded the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos, and dispersed the RevolutionNow protesters who converged in front of the stadium chanting solidarity songs.

Organisers of the protest had earlier assured that the protest would continue nationwide despite the arrest of its convener, Omoyele Sowore.

Mr. Sowore, a former presidential candidate, was arrested by the Department of State Security (DSS) on Saturday, two days before the commencement of the RevolutionNow protests. 

The DSS said his action is a threat to public safety, peaceful co-existence and social harmony in the country.

Athletes who train in the main bowl of the National Stadium were forced to do their physical exercise outside the facility on Monday.

The security unit at the stadium known as Operation MESA or OP MESA which is made up of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force were joined by police officers, and over 100 patrol vehicles, including Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC), were involved in the operation show of force exercise.

“This is also to showcase our ability not only on land but air. We are utilizing six gunboats and in partnership with the Airforce, while Rapid Response Squad (RRS) also use the choppers for aerial surveillance,” 

“Very few protesters have nonetheless gathered to demand better governance and no life was at lost” Lagos Police Command spokesman Bala Elkana said.

Further, the authorities of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) have beefed up security over fears that protesters may invade the school.

Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, had called on Nigerians to come out for what he tagged #RevolutionNow protest against the government.

Report shows that security personnel have been positioned outside the school gates.

Elkana however, recalled that the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, in his maiden address stated that one of the cardinal points of his new administration would be to restore the highest level of professionalism in the force saying that they intend to start to exhibit that in Lagos.

“So, Lagosians should not panic, this is a friendly show of force, it is to showcase our ability to protect the city, lives and properties and not only on land but also on water and on air because as I speak to you, we also have six gunboats operating in convoy within the three notable water channels all across Lagos state. We are also in partnership with the Air Force to ensure that they do some air surveillance from time to time and of course, our RRS surveillance choppers will also be flying across the state to give us aerial pictures and surveillance pictures.

“And so, Lagosians, we are ready, we will continue to partner with you to ensure we have a very safe society and safe state and again let me assure Lagosians that we exhibited a highest level of professionalism during the exercise” Elkana concluded.

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