First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan

Residents and visitors to Abuja, Nigeria?s Federal Capital were on Thursday subjected to unwarranted restriction and security cordon, as the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, took time off to sing and dance with women drawn from the 36 states of the Federation.

The event, which was held at the Eagles Square, effectively cut off workers from the imposing Federal Secretariat on both Shehu Shagari Way and Ibrahim Babangida Road, forcing them to trek for miles to their offices.

The big event, which took the workers and residents by surprise, also prevented commercial and government drivers from dropping their passengers, mostly workers in their designated bus stops around the secretariat.

Instead, hordes of stern-looking and gun-toting security men, who had arrived the venue before dawn, ordered them to stop some 200 metres away from the Square, which is surrounded by the Federal Secretariat.

As vehicular and human traffic was effectively cut off from all the routes leading to the venue of the First Lady?s rally, tagged, ?Nigerian Women Rally for Peace and Empowerment?, frustrated motorists were funnelled to any available space, thereby leading to a chaotic traffic snarl for the better part of the day.

As a result, all major streets in the Business District of Abuja, were jammed with long queues of human and vehicular traffic, giving traffic warders a hectic day.

While the traffic chaos lasted, armed soldiers and policemen in battle-ready mood took their positions on strategic road intersections, frisking commuters and pedestrians.

The armed men on the streets were given aerial support by military helicopters, which hovered over the venue of the rally as long as the ceremony lasted, making occasional displays, as they flew past.


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