Security operatives have taken over the Third Mainland Bridge to prevent any blockade that could hinder vehicular movement in Lagos.
The takeover followed threats by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) to ground commercial activities to protest the lingering Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike.
NANS had on Monday brought traffic to a halt for several hours on the Murtala Mohammed Airport Road, Ikeja, and other cities of the country demanding that the Federal Government should accede to the demands of the lecturers so that the over six-month strike could be called off.
The body also threatened that students were ready to take the protest to the Sea Ports and the Third Mainland Bridge should the government fail to reach a compromise with ASUU.
Knowing the implications of students’ protest on the bridge especially with the closure of Eko Bridge for repair works, the Lagos State Police Command ordered the deployment of operatives on the long bridge to prevent any impediment.
Confirming the deployment of operatives, the Command’s spokesman, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, said the Commissioner of Police (CP) Abiodun Alabi directed the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Adeniji Adele, CSP Lanre Edegbai to ensure his men were fully on ground.
Hundeyin said the deployment was to prevent anyone or group to infringe the fundamental right to freedom of movement of Lagosians.
He said: “I personally visited the 3rd Mainland Bridge this morning. Our officers led by DPO Adeniji Adele, CSP Lanre Edegbai, are fully on ground at that end of the bridge. Same applies at other points. Have no fear. We got you covered.
“We will not allow any person or group of persons deprive Lagosians of their Right to Freedom of Movement. Everyone’s rights must be respected!”
However, the move by the police generated mixed reactions on the social media as some Nigerians insisted the right to education, which has been deprived the students was also fundamental.
Critics accused the police of attempts to deny the students their right to protest, which was a constitutional right, but supporters of the police argued the students can register their grievances without infringing on the right to freedom of movement of others.