Soldiers-militants standoff grinds traffic along Abuja-Lokoja highway

Normal vehicular and pedestrian traffic along the Abuja-Lokoja highway remain crippled, as the blockade mounted by soldiers to prevent Abuja-bound supporters of Governor Timipre Sylva from entering Abuja remains in place.

Travellers, mostly night commuters from the eastern and western parts of the country, as well as those going out of the Federal Capital Territory to other parts of the country, are affected. 

Hundreds of commercial and private vehicles, including government vehicles, are held up at both ends of the Lokoja bridgehead and there is no movement on both ends of the route.

Trailers, trucks, luxury buses and other lightweight transit buses are left stranded on the road since 1 a.m.

While soldiers are manning the route from the Abuja end, the militants from Bayelsa State, who are said to be heading towards Abuja to protest the exclusion of Mr. Sylva from the governorship election in the state, are mounting a blockade at the other end of the bridge.

The situation is tense, as no one seems to know the next action the soldiers would take to open the road.

The operatives are said to be waiting for instructions from the authorities in Abuja, but are careful not to go into any confrontation with the militants, to avoid worsening the situation.  

At a point. it appeared the soldiers had suceeded in dislodging the militants. But another gridlock has ensued, as trailers and vehicles are struggling for space at the single lane that had been opened. 

Road safety officials have been deployed along the route to help control the movement of vehicles.


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