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Police use tear gas to quell physically challenged athletes’ protest

Jide Olusola & Dotun Omisakin, Lagos Some Policemen attached to the Area ‘C’ Police Command in Lagos State were alleged to have used tear gas…

Jide Olusola & Dotun Omisakin, Lagos

Some Policemen attached to the Area ‘C’ Police Command in Lagos State were alleged to have used tear gas to disperse physically challenged athletes, also known as Special athletes, who took to the street yesterday to protest against their exclusion from the forthcoming National Sports Festival (NSF) in Delta State.

The protest which started on Monday became worse yesterday as the physically challenged athletes in their numbers blocked the entrance into the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos causing serious traffic gridlock in the area.

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The situation degenerated when some Policemen from Area ‘C’ deployed to the scene allegedly fired tear gas at the protesting athletes.

It took the intervention of the Senior Special Adviser on Sports to Lagos state Governor, Adeboye Anthony Adeyinka and Surulere Local Government Chairman, Yusuf Sulaiman to calm the situation.

In a chat with one of the athletes, Oluwakemi Yekini, a wheel-chair tennis and basketball player said Policemen from the Area C of the Nigerian Police in Lagos, fired tear gas and pounced on them during the protest.

She said that she was later taken to the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) hospital inside the Teslim Balogun Stadium for treatment.

“The cause of the protest is that we have been preparing for the 2022 National Sports Festival in Delta State but the minister of sports said he will leave out some of our events. Later, we heard he is bringing neighbouring countries like Ghana to come and compete, yet they want to exclude us from the festival. This is why we are protesting,

“I am one of those who got injured because policemen fired tear gas at us.

“It was the Lagos State commission that took us to the hospital but the treatment was not good enough. I will go home to treat myself,” she said.

As at the time of press, it was not possible to get any reaction from the Police authorities.

Meanwhile, the sports ministry has said there will be no para-sports in the forthcoming National Sports Festival scheduled to take place in Delta State.

The decision was made yesterday after an emergency virtual meeting of the National council on sports following the protests by the special athletes.

 

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