• Friday, May 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

Security beefed up as polls kick off

Nigeria Army retakes Gworza from Boko Haram

The streets of Lagos were deserted this morning on account of the restriction on movement attending voting in the presidential election which takes place today, Saturday March 28.

Would be voters started to gather at polling booths around the state as early as 8.00 a.m.

As at none o’clock this morning polling officials had not yet arrived in parts of the Oke-Afa area of Isolo, notably in the Low Cost Housing Estate.

As at 9.15am in the Ejigbo area however, polling officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were seen conducting verification of voters.

Same was the case five minutes later at a polling booth beside Swiss International Hotel in Ajao estate, close to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

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All around Lagos, there were armed police patrols. A few stranded individual were seen taking long walks, as there was a restriction on vehicular movement.

At the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, after the second fly-over at Oshodi bus stop, on the way to Lagos Island, there was a military checkpoint. Parked blocking much of the road was a large armoured Nigerian Army tank in desert camouflage coating, (the size of three ten ton trucks) mounted with a heavy machine gun. The soldiers manning the the tank wore stern looks, were very watchful and looked battle ready.

Other soldiers at the check point stood in a maze of disused tyres and held automatic rifles at the ready.

They stopped the few vehicles on the road, asking for identification and the mission of the occupants and searching the boots of the vehicles.

They were polite though. The officer who searched our reporter’s car, said afterwards, “sorry for the inconvenience sir”.

Most of the booths seen by our reporter had two police officer. One in every four booths had a female officer.

Some of the booths had observers in blue jeans and purple shirts. Written on the back of their shirts were the words “Let the votes count”.A few individual were seen drawing cash from automated teller machines around Lagos.

Pockets of youths, most of them too young to vote were seen playing football on the deserted paved streets.