Physically Challenged Athletes Protests

Some physically-challenged persons on Wednesday staged a protest in the Surulere area of Lagos, causing a traffic gridlock that kept motorists on the roads for hours.

Many who were on their way to work were forced to abandon commercial vehicles and trek long distances to beat the traffic, especially along Funso Williams Avenue.

The protesters, who are athletes, were airing their displeasure about the alleged removal of some sports from the forthcoming National Sports Festival.

They gathered by the National Stadium and insisted that all the Para sports exempted from the festival must be included.

One of the protesters, Ms Joyce Otun, a para-athlete, said it was necessary they staged the protest as members of her group were being marginalised due to their disabilities.

“We are protesting because they deny us our rights, the National Sports Festival must include all Para Sports and none should be denied participation.

“Only three of our sports have been enlisted in the National Sports Festival, if they would not include all our sports they should forget about the festival this year.

Another protester who pleaded anonymity said the disabled sportsmen were being ignored, hence their grievances.

“We want the government to do the right thing. They should give us what rightfully belongs to us, that is what we are fighting for through this protest.

“If they would not grant us our request, we will be here for the next 24 hours until our sports are included in the National Sports Festival.

“We are not being treated right by the government in spite of the fact that we win majority of the medals for the country,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that policemen of the Lagos State Rapid Response Squad (RRS) were later deployed to the area.

The protesting athletes, thereafter, left the scene, a situation which eased traffic flow, bringing relief to commuters.

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