There has been a beef-up of security in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Bola Tinubu on May 29.
Top security sources told our correspondent that beyond the physical deployment of operatives, emphasis was also placed on intelligence gathering, reports The Nation.
Training of the police is ongoing, along with the military, to ensure the exercise is hitch-free.
Policemen from the Special Protection Unit have been deployed to safeguard public officials who have roles to play in the inauguration.
Security operatives guarding those with no role in the inauguration have been reduced.
Some of their guards were withdrawn and attached to those with vital roles to play.
Last Thursday, the Presidential Transition Council rolled out a programme for the inauguration.
Chairman of the Council and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said foreign heads of state are expected.
Yesterday, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation said the adjoining areas to Eagle Square, the venue of the inauguration, would be cordoned off from 2 pm on Friday.
A circular by the Permanent Secretary, Permanent Welfare Office, Dr Ngozi Onwudiwe, reads: “The inauguration parade and swearing-in … will take place on Monday, 29th May 2023 at the Eagle Square, Central Business District, Abuja.
“In line with the security arrangements for the event, the Federal Secretariat Complexes Phases I, II, III and Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be cordoned off by security operatives from 2 pm on Friday to Monday.
“Accordingly, officers and intending visitors to the affected areas will not be allowed access till Tuesday when work will resume in earnest.”
A security source said: “There have been threats of interim governments by some dissident elements who feel aggrieved that they lost out.
“As I speak, intelligence operatives have been deployed across the FCT to gather information that would enable them to ensure a hitch-free inauguration. They are everywhere and are gathering the necessary information.
“I can tell you progress is being made. Besides, an influx of persons is expected in Abuja, hence the need to ensure the situation does not get out of hand.
“I can assure you no stone is being left unturned in ensuring the exercise is a success,” a source said.
The police yesterday said the warning by Inspector General Usman Alkali Baba remained applicable.
Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, a Chief Superintendent of Police, told our correspondent that there was nothing to add.
The IG had alleged a plot to derail the May 29 transfer of power.
He said those behind the plot are “political actors” and “subversive elements and their foot soldiers”.
The warning came on the heels of a previous one by the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) and the Department of State Services (DSS).
President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who won the February 25 poll, is billed to take office on May 29 as Nigeria’s fifth president of the Fourth Republic.
Three candidates are in court challenging his victory. Apart from the court action, many of those who felt aggrieved as a result of the loss of the preferred candidate have been making incendiary remarks on the outcome of the poll widely seen as the freest and fairest in Nigeria’s electoral history.
The IG said the police and the intelligence community cannot fold their hands and allow the subversive agenda, political radicalism and extremism to unleash tension and derail the orderly transfer of power.
The DSS had warned against a plot to set aside the constitution and install an interim government after May 29 by misguided elements.
Although he refrained from naming the plotters, DSS Spokesman Dr. Peter Afunanya, in a statement, warned those behind the conspiracy to thwart democracy to retrace their steps.
Alkali, who maintained that May 29 is sacrosanct, said those who are not satisfied with the outcome of the January 25 poll should stop heating up the polity.
He said: “Following the successful conclusion of the 2023 general elections, it has been observed that some major political actors that the outcome did not favour, have been issuing public threats that are directed at instigating actions to frustrate the presidential inauguration on May 29.
“The Nigeria Police and the national intelligence community have been closely monitoring the activities of these political elites as well as other elements who have formed themselves into unpatriotic brands whose only fantasy, in recent times, is to subvert our national security interests.
“In so doing, they seem to be bent on deploying extra-judicial and undemocratic means to truncate our democratic heritage in the advancement of their narrow personal political considerations.
“The 29th May 2023 date for the swearing-in ceremony of the President-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and indeed, other inauguration ceremonies at national and state levels, are sacrosanct.”