TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

Jonathan shuts Abuja for WEF

By The Rainbow
Listen to article

Nigeria's Federal Government on Friday directed that all government offices and schools in Abuja should be closed down for the three days the World Economic Forum on Africa scheduled to begin Wednesday 7 May will last.

Senator Pius Anyim, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation who announced this in a statement however said offices performing essential services are not expected to be part of the closure.

He added that the order is designed to ease the flow of traffic within the city and enable participants carry out their assigned roles and participate actively at the World Economic Forum Africa.

The government said private organisations with large number of staff may also close down their operations if they also wish to do so.

Jonathan shuts Abuja for WEF
In another development, the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Friday allayed fears of insecurity in Abuja as the World Economic Forum on Africa begins on Wednesday, May 7.

Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke at the backdrop of Thursday's Nyanya bomb explosion, said that the Federal Government would provide adequate security for participants.

She told newsmen in Abuja that President Goodluck Jonathan would make a statement on the forum and security issues shortly.

She said 'with the World Economic Forum, of course, it's not easy; the news we have so far is that people are asking questions but it's seems encouraging.

An economist, Mr Eze Onyekpere, urged the Federal Government to ensure that the forum was held so as not to give in to terrorism.

Onyekpere told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that government 'must reinforce security in the capital and around the country to enable the forum participants and other visitors to come without fear.

'I think the forum should go on; it will show a very wrong signal if we stop it because it means we are saying that Nigeria is no longer secure.

'If we cancel an international event that has already been planned, it will be a very dangerous signal,'' he said.

Similarly, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Most Rev. Mathew Kukah, said it was sad the blast occurred at a time that the nation was planning to host the world.

'We should take it in our stride just for the interest of those who lost their lives, and one thing to say is that we should move forward in their memory to help us to build a better society,' Kukah said.

Kukah added that those who loved Nigeria would always stand by it at moments of trials and would come for the forum, adding that Sept. 11 incident in U.S. did not stop any event.

'If this thing is happening in the U.S., London or anywhere in Europe, people will not cancel their flights; they will still travel.

'I call on our president to occupy the moral high ground and be more assertive.

'We need to know that somebody is in charge and in control because that is the signal that everybody requires,'' Kukah said