SECURITY CHECKS ALMOST MAR INAUGURATION
That security around and within the Eagle Square Abuja, venue of the presidential inauguration was tight would be an understatement as all roads leading to the three arms zone were effectively cordoned off by stern looking security officials.
Even though, there was an inauguration committee put in place to take care of all aspects of the ceremony, security checks almost took the shine off the event as some invited guests were prevented from gaining entrance to the venue. One of the groups that suffered from the security measures put in place were journalists especially photo journalists who were prevented from moving from one location to the other to record the event for history.
From the onset, security personnel seem to have jettisoned the official accreditation granted media organisations and other functionaries following their insistence that they could only grant accredited journalists 30 slots into the Eagle Square to witness the epoch event.
It took a lot of pressure by the combined forces of the journalists who insisted on gaining entry into the venue, before the security men could made contacts with some of their superiors after which the media practitioners were allowed access to the venue only to be confronted with the second hurdle which resisted their movement.
As soon as they were granted entry, security personnel made up of the Army, Police and State Security Service formed a barricade to prevent the journalists from going near any of the pavilion with strict instruction that they could only confine themselves to a particular place, a distance of over 100 meters to the main podium where the main event took place.
The development triggered another protest for about an hour until the Minister of Information and Communications, Mr. Labaran Maku, had to leave his pavilion to intervene before the journalists were eventually allowed to move further to the podium to take pictures.
The irony of the situation was such that while Nigerian journalists particularly photo journalists and a handful of their foreign counterparts were treated shabbily, the same security personnel adopted a selective approach to accord special recognition to some other foreign media organisations such as AJAZERA, AFP correspondents, amongst others. Owing to the security measures, some of the pavilions earmarked for guests were empty as the invitees could not find their way into the Eagle Square since they could not trek long distances to get to the venue.
Similarly, the protocol unit of the swearing in ceremony which was assigned the responsibility of distributing souvenirs, water and food to invited guests, failed to deliver as the items were taken back in the buses that brought them while a lot of the people left for home without the items.
In a related development, GSM networks providers equally shut down their services for most parts of Sunday in Abuja thereby prevented people from making or receiving calls.
Daily Sun checks indicated that the move was part of the strategy used to prevent perpetrators of evil plans from gaining access to any of the networks to commit any havoc that may over shadow the main event.
For instance, it was alleged that the October 1st 2010 bomb blast rocked Abuja was detonated through the use of a GSM devise thus the need to completely shut down all communications network to make difficult for any group with evil intention to communicate in addition to the Ariel surveillance by men of the Nigeria Police.