Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
The federal government insists that the recent security alarm it raised over May 29 presidential inauguration was not red herring. It, however, assured that security agencies were in control of every challenge.
This comes as it clarified that May 29 will still be observed as a public holiday despite the recognition of June 12 as Democracy Day.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the security concern raised last week by the government was based on facts. He was accompanied at the briefing by some ministers, permanent secretaries and top government officials. They included Minister of Defence, Dan Ali; Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu and his counterpart in the Solid Mineral, Alhaji Abubakar Bwari.
Recently, Mohammed told newsmen that main opposition party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, were working with some forces to make the country ungovernable.
“A few days ago we raised the alarm that either by themselves or via their proxies, the PDP and its presidential candidate are doing everything possible to sabotage the Buhari administration, generally overheat the polity and making Nigeria seemingly ungovernable.
“Of course, you are aware of similar alarms that have been raised by the police, the military and the DSS.”
Asked if such concerns were still in place, Mohammed said the security agencies were dealing with it and that the country was in good stead to host world leaders for the presidential inauguration celebration billed for May 29. He did not elaborate on measures being taken by the government to address the security concerns.
He said: “The country is safe for the world leaders to attend the presidential inauguration. Nigeria is safe and sound.”
Giving details of the inauguration celebration which he said will be low-key, the minister who declined to disclose whether opposition leaders would be part of the event said youth entrepreneurship summit, children’s party, prayers in mosques and churches as well as a summit on corruption were key activities that would be held.
He explained: “Activities leading to the inauguration of Mr. President officially kick off today, May 20, with this press conference. This will be followed on Tuesday, May 21, by the commencement of a three-day National Youth Entrepreneurship Empowerment Summit at the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Abuja.
“The Federal Executive Council Valedictory Session will be held at the Council Chambers, State House, Abuja, on Wednesday, May 22; a Special Jumat lecture and prayer will be held on Friday, May 24 at the National Mosque; the First Lady’s interaction with women is slated for the Old Chamber at the State House on Saturday May 25 while a special interdenominational Church Service is slated for Sunday, May 26 at the National Christian Centre.”
He added: “On Monday, May 27, Mr. President will give a Children’s Day broadcast, to be followed later in the day by a Children’s Variety Party. The swearing in of the President and the Vice President is slated for Wednesday, May 29 at the Eagle Square.”
Mohammed restated that there was no threat to the inauguration, stressing that security agencies were on top of security concerns earlier raised.