The PUNCH observed that the deployment began around 10 pm on Sunday barely days after the military high command announced that it would commence the ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’.
While policemen cordoned off parts of the Three Arms Zone, Ralph Shodeinde Street, soldiers were stationed at strategic parts of the Goodluck E. Jonathan Expressway through AYA Roundabout to the headquarters of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The heavily armed soldiers, many of whom were wearing black face masks, barricaded sections of the expressway.
The #EndSARS protests, aimed at stopping police brutality, have been raging in different parts of the country for over 10 days.
The protests have continued despite the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad which was accused of perpetrating most of the extrajudicial killings.
The protesters are known to cordon off major roads, causing traffic congestion.
They blocked the Airport Road on Friday, causing many to lose their flight while on Saturday they blocked the ever-busy Wuse Market Road.
While the protests have been largely peaceful, Amnesty International says at least 10 persons have been killed as of last Wednesday.
The killings have largely been perpetrated by thugs believed to be loyal to the government and security personnel.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had said on Saturday that the government would no longer fold its arms while the protests continue.
The United Nations had on Thursday said it was studying the situation closely.
Meanwhile, the Edo State Government has imposed a 24-hour curfew across the state till further notice.
The curfew is to take effect from 4pm, October 19, 2020.
In a statement, the Secretary to the Government of Edo State, Osarodion Ogie Esq., said, “This decision has become necessary because of the very disturbing incidents of vandalism and attacks on private individuals and institutions by hoodlums in the guise of #ENDSARS protesters.
“While the government of Edo State respects the rights of its citizens to undertake legitimate protests, it cannot sit idly when hoodlums have taken laws into their hands to cause mayhem on innocent citizens and the state.
“By the directive, schools and businesses are to shut down activities accordingly. Those who cannot move safely are to stay put between now and 4pm till calmness is restored.
“Parents are advised to rein in their children, youths and wards, to forestall further breakdown of law and order.
“The responsibility of government is to protect lives and property and maintain law and order, therefore, anyone found outside in violation of the curfew would be dealt with according to the law.”