Sunday, May 4, 2014

WEF: Presidential guards deployed in Abuja airport

Soldiers from the Presidential Guard have been deployed in the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport,Abuja ahead of the commencement of the World Economic Forum on Africa which takes place between May 7 and 9, 2014

The soldiers, who are at various strategic positions within the airport, have already    barricaded some of the roads leading to the departure and arrival halls  of the airport.
One of our correspondents, who visited the airport on  Sunday morning, observed this just as the  Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar,   placed a security cordon around the Federal Capital Territory and its  environs   to ensure a hitch-free hosting of the WEF.

No fewer than  5,000 policemen  and soldiers  are expected to  provide security during the forum which will be attended among others by the  Presidents of Rwanda, Senegal and Kenya as well as   the Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang.

Schools and government offices  in Abuja are to close during the  event.
One  of our correspondents also observed at the NAIA that  some of the unused plastic traffic cones  meant  for the moribund FCT Bus Rapid Transit, had been painted in the traditional colours of the Presidential Guard with its insignia of scorpion.
The cones  were  used to block some of the paths that lead to some of the halls within the airport.

Two of the soldiers, who spoke  on  the condition of anonymity, said they were brought to the airport in order to beef up security ahead of the arrival of dignitaries  for the WEF.
One of them, a private said in pidgin English, “oga, no be we come here ourselves o. Them brought us here to provide security and I think as soon as the event is over by weekend, maybe dem go return us to where dem bring us.

“You can see that nobody dey rest because of the activities of these terrorists. The thing don tire us as well. Dem no gree make we do our normal duties.
“We no suppose dey here. What is our duty with security  for  airport? This is not presidential wing of the airport. But you see, things have fallen apart and that is why we are here o.”
Another one, who sat close to the make-shift mosque opposite the departure lounge, merely said that they were there based on the order of their commander,   Brig.–Gen. Anthony Omozoje.

Asked about when they would leave the airport, he said, “Oga journalist, na order take us come here and na order go take us commot.”
It was also observed that the authorities of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria had deployed more security personnel around the airport, especially within its premises.
Unlike before, only travellers  are   allowed to enter the departure lounge, while those who accompany  them are  turned back at the gate.

Also on Sunday, Abubakar in a detailed operational order,  directed  the immediate deployment of men and relevant security equipment in the  FCT and its  satellite towns   to ensure a safe, secure and conducive atmosphere before, during and after the WEF.
A statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said that Abubakar, ordered police field commanders to step up   security measures in all strategic locations and vulnerable points in the FCT.
They were also  directed  to further strengthen security at entry and exit points of  the FCT, airports and highways, city roads, hotels and the conference venue.

According to the statement, the IG      assured the conference participants, Nigerians  and  members of the international community of adequate security.
He said  that the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies had already put in place, security measures for their safety and comfort.”
The British Broadcasting Corporation however reported on Sunday that  security forces had detained  many  foreigners in Abuja over  the recent bomb blasts in Nyanya, a satellite community bordering Abuja and Nasarawa State.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence  said those detained on Saturday were being interrogated and had provided “useful information.”
Meanwhile, the   Nigerian Labour Congress has urged  security agencies and the public to take seriously, the notice served on the government by Boko Haram that its members  had come to stay in Abuja.
The NLC, through its  Acting General Secretary  , Mr. Chris Uyot, said  in an electronic mail on Sunday that the two bomb attacks on Nyanya  could be the beginning of more    in the FCT.
The union  advised security agencies to involve the local populace in security issues and  to  establish network centres and rapid response squads  in crowded public places.

It  said, “With the notice served on the government by Boko Haram that they are in Abuja to stay, no one should deceive himself or herself that the attacks will end with prayers or with the wave of the hand.
“The attacks in the suburbs, we dare say, may be a prelude to more sinister strikes. Accordingly, we invite our security personnel to be up and doing in securing public places especially.
“We have noticed with dismay that most car parks are unprotected and are littered with unserviceable vehicles. Those who run them  are more concerned with revenue than the lives of Nigerians.
“Like other Nigerians, we demand  protection for our members at home, at work and on the road. They too are bonafide citizens. The present attacks on them are direct attacks on productivity and the development of our economy.”
The NLC  urged Nigerians and family members of the victims  to be resolute in their condemnation of terrorism.
It  said that the insurgents were exploiting what it described as  the ‘state of our unpreparedness, our weak infrastructure and our chaotic lifestyle to unleash mayhem.’

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