For the first time since the nationwide protests agains fuel subsidy removal and fuel price hikes, soldiers were deployed to monitor the demonstrations. They formed barricades at key protest grounds in major cities, including the Gani Fawehinmi park at Ojota and Ikorodu road in Lagos, which has seen a number of procession marches in the past week.
The deployment of troops occured after President Jonathan announced the new pump price of petrol, now N97 per litre and demanded that labour call of the strike and return to work.
Many Nigerians who went out to protest today condemned the excessive use of force by the government. Speaking on Channels Television, Mr. Issa Aremu, vice president of the Nigeria Labour Congress commended the military personnels who did not follow orders to the letter, saying the orders of the military had been to shoot anyone who went past the barricade.
Soldiers did shoot to disperse the gathering crowd of protesters at Ikorodu road, sending thousands running. State Security Service spokeswoman Marliyn Ogar denied that the purpose of the military deployment had been to intimidate protesters.
In an interview with Channels TV correspondent, she said the President had decided to deploy troops after receiving intelligence reports indicating the possibility of mayhem in certain parts of the country in relation to the fuel subsidy removal.
These photos, courtesy of Channels TV, show the situation on ground in Lagos today.