Commercial activities in Abuja have been paralysed following a protest by members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), who dared security operatives.

The protest began at Aguyi Ironsi road, Maitama, as armed security operatives barricaded all the access roads leading to the Federal Secretariat, to prevent them from gaining entry into the facility.

The sect had scheduled a peaceful protest on Thursday as part of the activities to mark the Ashura procession, an annual spiritual event. See Also Free Speech Threats Of Intimidation Won’t Deter Us From Religious Obligation, Says Islamic Movement

However, tension began to rise when armed policemen surrounded the three arms zone, leading to hiccups in human and vehicular movement. The protesters, however, insisted that they must march through the Federal Secretariat in line with their mapped-out routes for the procession.

The situation has caused gridlock as motorists have been forced to use alternative routes.

The protesters said they were battle-ready for any eventuality, as some of them were seen picking stones along the road ahead of any likely attack by the Police.

The protesters later went through the barriers mounted by the security operatives and gained access to the Federal Secretariat, daring gun-wielding officers who attempted to stop them.

They marched through Shehu Shagari way, chanting "Allahu Akbar"; "Free Sheikh Zakzaky".

The group is demanding the release of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, who has been in the custody of security operatives following the bloody clash between his members and the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Yusuf Buratai, in Zaria in 2015.

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