24 hours before the inauguration of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, security has been beefed up at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as foreign guests and other dignitaries have started arriving for the historic ceremony.
Naija News learnt that the number of visitors coming through the international and presidential wings of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, significantly increased on Saturday.
A senior Canadian official in an interview with PUNCH said the country’s delegation, which is the Minister of Housing, Diversity, and Inclusion, Ahmed Hussen, arrived in Abuja on Saturday night.
The Indian Embassy in Nigeria in a statement on Saturday also disclosed that its Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh, a Special Envoy of the Prime Minister alongside some senior officials has been sent to attend the inauguration.
However, the United Kingdom delegation which is headed by the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for the inauguration might be in Abuja (today) Sunday.
The delegation includes the Minister of State for Development and Africa at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Andrew Mitchell; the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria and Special Envoy on Girls’ Education, Helen Grant, and the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Richard Montgomery.
Speaking on the arrival of VIPs for the inauguration of Nigeria’s 16th President, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Head of Corporate Affairs, NAIA, Oluwakayode Adeyeoluwa, confirmed a memo was sent to the authority about the high influx of VIPs into Abuja beginning from Saturday.
Adeyeoluwa said, “Of course, we should expect that. Dignitaries and possibly Presidents have started coming, because by the memo that came to my table, it shows that they’ve started arriving.
“They started coming into the country since last week, but it peaked today (Saturday) based on the influx at the international and Presidential wings of the Abuja airport.”
Heavy Security At Eagle Square
Meanwhile, operatives of the Nigeria Police, the Armed Forces, the Department of State Services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and the Federal Road Safety Corps, among others, have taken over Eagle Square, the venue of the inauguration.
Military personnel, police officers and other security agents deployed for the match past parade continued their dress rehearsals at the venue.
While several helicopters were also seen hovering over the city for aerial surveillance, vehicles belonging to the Presidential Guards Brigade and the Nigeria Police Force were seen moving around the city centre, blaring sirens.
Security At Five-star Hotels
According to PUNCH, there is a heavy presence of armed police officers stationed at the entrance of five-star hotels in Abuja, an NSCDC squad car was also spotted in the parking lot, and a couple of military officers.
Hotel security officers conducted car bomb checks upon entry and also directed guests to go through the metal detectors, as well as put their luggage through the detectors.
At the Transcorp Hilton, several vehicles both of the Nigeria Police Force and the NSCDC were stationed at the junction of Aguiyi Ironsi Street where the hotel is located.
Four officers of both security agencies manned the street and took turns in patrol. While two armed officers were spotted at the exit and entry points of the hotel.
A staff who pleaded anonymity, confirmed that the hotel was fully booked, adding that some of the clients included top officials of the Nigerian government as well as foreign dignitaries.
The employee said, “Yes, we have quite a number of VIP guests, including delegates of foreign governments, but that is the most I can say”
Meanwhile, the police have deployed personnel to be on guard for the protection of Aso Rock Presidential Villa and provide security around Eagle Square.
The personnel are to man all borders, seaports, and airports for the purpose of achieving a hitch-free ceremony on Monday.