…N'ASSEMBLY IN SECURITY LOCKDOWN
The Three Arms Zone comprising the Presidency, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal Headquarters of the National Assembly was in a security lockdown ahead of President Goodluck Jonathan's presentation of the N4.8 trillion budget yesterday.
Right from the Power House Axis from the Asokoro District, down to the Police Force Headquarters in Area 11, and all direct entry points into the two major courts and the Aso Rock Presidential Villa were cordoned off by stern-looking soldiers and Policemen, both regular and their gun-toting mobile counterparts.
Motorists were forced to drive against the traffic in such areas while entrance into the National Assembly premises was manned by combined Police units and soldiers.
In addition to an anti-bomb vehicle strategically stationed at the Secretariat axis of the National Assembly, there was a new dimension to the security lockdown with the installation of a bag scanner mounted at the entry point yesterday.
All vehicular and pedestrian traffic were also subjected to a bomb detector test before they were allowed to proceed to the second gate where for the first time, National Assembly staff, journalists, bankers with offices within the complex, legislative aides and other support staff were ordered to line up in a single file.
They were then ordered to open their bags for inspection by men of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). Again, inability to produce a valid National Assembly Identity Card earned a turn-back from the security team.
Further down, another round of security check of bags or any container was conducted by the Police. Having been cleared at this point, the main entrance into the White House Complex housing chambers of the Senate and the House of Representatives was also cordoned off to the public.
Rather than gain entry through the foyer, all staff, except senators and members of the House of Representatives were directed to access the complex from the new senate wing.
The National Assembly lobby which connects the two chambers was cordoned off to members of the public. Only lawmakers were allowed to pass through.