Over one thousand Abuja-bound protesters from the Niger Delta state of Bayelsa are presently trapped at the Lokoja end of the Abuja Lokoja highway where they have been blocked from proceeding on their journey by men of the Kogi State Command of the Nigeria Police.
The men, conveyed in about one hundred vehicles – many with Bayelsa state government’s inscription – are trying to gain entry to the capital city to stage a protest over the political crisis in the state, and in solidarity with embattled Governor Timipre Sylva, who has been disqualified from running in next month’s governorship election in the state.
President Goodluck Jonathan has anointed another candidate, Henry Dickson, for the election.
The blockade is causing a heavy traffic glitch on that portion of the highway, which connects the south of Nigeria with Abuja and the north. Thousands of road users are held up at both ends of the road.
The protesters who have been held up since about 3.00 am are threatening to endlessly shut the highway unless they are granted access by the unyielding security officials
The police wants the protesters to discontinue their journey to Abuja and return to their base. Of late, the police in Kogi has gained a notoriety for turning away anti-government protesters from the nation’s capital.
Last week, a fewer number of supporters of Mr. Sylva, were arrested, detained and later turned back at the same spot by the police after they attempted to enter the capital city demonstrate in support the governor
.Before then, some members of the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria from Osun State were barred from entering the capital to show solidarity with party leader Bola Tinubu, who was facing trial for corruption at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. Mr. Tinubu has since been acquitted of the charges.
The police spokesman, Olusola Amore, was not immediately reachable for comment.