March 26, 2023

A protest was raised at Surulere ,Ojuelegba axis of Lagos under physically challenged athletes airing their displeasure and grieve about the forthcoming 2022 National Sports Festival in Delta State scheduled to hold from November 28 to December 10.

The protest happened on Wednesday 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.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, explained it was necessary that 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.” she said.

We are not ready to stop, we will continue this protest until they heed our call,”she added.

“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,” Another protester who pleaded anonymity stated.

The protesting athletes, thereafter, left the scene after the policemen of the Lagos State Rapid Response Squad (RRS) intervened,a situation which eased traffic flow, bringing relief to commuters.

Marvelous Ogidi

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