Okechukwu Nnodim,Solomon Odeniyi, Deborah Tolu-Kolawole, Stephen Angbulu, Nathaniel Shaibu and Lilian Ukagwu
The President-elect, Bola Tinubu on Thursday pledged to address the security and power crises, among other challenges confronting the country.
Tinubu who was handed the transition report by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), promised not to disappoint Nigerians.
He said this shortly after his investiture with the country’s highest national honour of Grand Commander of Federal Republic alongside the Vice President-elect, Kashim Shettima who was honoured with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger by the President.
The investiture ceremony took place at the State House Conference Centre of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, as part of the lineup of events for the 2023 Presidential Inauguration Ceremony slated for Monday.
The ex-Lagos State governor said he understood the honour conferred upon him and his VP-elect and the magnitude of the task ahead.
He appealed to Buhari to entertain “knocks” on his doors whether he retires to Daura or the Niger Republic.
He said, “I am a simple man who is the beneficiary of the support and goodwill of the people of Nigeria. The people have put their trust in us. You have done your part, Mr President.
“Now, that great duty descends on me. I understand the meaning of the honour given to me today and of the task that awaits.
“I must run this race and must do it well. On security, the economy, agriculture, jobs, education, health and power and in all other sectors we must make headway. The people deserve no less. In this, I shall disappoint neither them nor you, Mr President.’’
After performing the handover of transition documents and transferring the baton of service to Tinubu, the President said he was confident to leave Nigeria in “capable hands.”
He said the conferment of the national honours was in accordance with the Honours Award Act, 1963, Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 2004 which mandates that Presidents/Heads of State receive the Honour of GCFR while the Vice Presidents are awarded the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger.
“Today, with the authority vested in me, as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I have conferred the National Honour of GCFR on His Excellency Bola Tinubu and that of the GCON on His Excellency Kashim Shettima respectively,” he said.
Buhari said he had run a good race and finished his course as Nigeria’s leader for the past eight years.
“I am confident that Nigeria is in capable hands as we embark on this new chapter. I have run a good race. I have finished my course. It is now time for another to take up the baton. Once again, I congratulate President-elect, Bola Tinubu and Vice President-elect Kashim Shettima on their well-deserved investiture,’’ he said.
Buhari lauds regime
The outgoing President left a note of advice for the incoming administration saying, “As we celebrate this auspicious occasion, let us not forget the immense responsibilities that come with leadership. The challenges facing our nation are significant, and the President and Vice President have to address them with courage, wisdom, and compassion.’’
He also noted that the transfer of transition documents aligns with Executive Order No. 14 (2023) which he signed to avoid a repeat of the transition hitches his regime suffered when he came on board in 2015.
“To avoid a repeat of our 2015 experience, I signed Executive Order No. 14 of 2023, which establishes the legal framework for conducting presidential transitions at the federal level.
“The Executive Order establishes the Presidential Transition Council chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Ministerial Transition Teams headed by the Permanent Secretaries.
“The primary responsibility of these two ad-hoc bodies is to ensure that every piece of information that will help a new administration get off to a speedy start is made available in a usable format and promptly,” he explained.
Earlier, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Transition Council, said the work done by the Buhari regime would give the Tinubu administration a “strong foundation” to perform its mandate.
At the event was the First Lady Aisha Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, the President’s Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Ministers, the spouses and children of the President-elect and Vice President-elect, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Abdullahi Adamu, several state governors, traditional rulers, amongst others.
Meanwhile, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Thursday, recorded heavy passengers as dignitaries and guests began arriving for the Monday inauguration of Tinubu as the President.
Top hotels in Abuja are also experiencing an influx of guests with many of them fully booked ahead of the ceremony.
Checks at the airport indicated that the terminals witnessed high air passenger traffic as many moved to beat airline delays and other issues.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria confirmed the high influx of passengers into the NAIA and attributed it to the forthcoming inauguration of the president-elect.
FAAN’s Head of Corporate Affairs, NAIA, Oluwakayode Adeyeoluwa, told The PUNCH that the agency was prepared to receive those coming for the inauguration but pleaded with passengers to cooperate with the authority.
Asked if the recent increase in passenger traffic into the Abuja airport could be attributed to the forthcoming inauguration of the President-elect, he replied, “Of course, people are coming in and going out, but the inauguration is a good reason to suspect that the high influx, for now, is due to what is forthcoming. So you are not far from the truth, for I don’t think there is any other thing happening in Abuja.
“However, at the same time, when the weekend approaches, people travel more. But I must note that coincidentally the inauguration is coming just after the weekend.”
Adeyeoluwa said the airport authority was well prepared to manage the situation and urged air travellers to be law-abiding when using the NAIA, stressing that the facility would see a lot of activities in the coming days.
“We appreciate them using the airport and we appreciate their understanding. We want to say that as they can see, things are improving by the day at the Abuja airport, as facilities are being upgraded to accommodate the increasing need for it.
“However, at the same time, we want to solicit the cooperation of passengers, new car parks have been created, and the toilet facilities at the departure terminals have been increased. So the management is doing all that we can to see that passengers get the optimum seamless service that we can give to them.
“So the passengers should please understand and cooperate with us in terms of abiding with the rules at the airport, especially the traffic rules. Some people will come to the airport and park where they are not supposed to park. You don’t park (your car) in front of the terminal. You can drop off a passenger but not park there and wait,” Adeyeoluwa stated.
The spokesperson for Dana Air, Kinsley Ezenwa, disclosed that the airline has been recording increased passenger traffic.
Ezenwa noted that the inauguration ceremony may have contributed to the volume, noting that the rise in air passengers had been on a steady increase before the inauguration ceremony.
“Yes, we have been getting it for the past month and it’s been very good. Inauguration might have added to the percentage though but it’s been on a steady rise long before the inauguration,’’ he added.
In preparation for the visiting dignitaries who included heads of government and diplomats, this newspaper gathered that the Federal Government had booked all the top hotels in Abuja for the accommodation of guests.
It was learnt that some of the luxury hotels had been booked since March.
Security sources confirmed that police counter-terrorism units and undercover operatives would be stationed at the hotels where the visiting dignitaries would be accommodated.
As part of the preparation for the inauguration, the Federal Secretariat and some other public buildings in the FCT are wearing a new look.
One of our correspondents who visited the Federal Secretariat on Thursday observed that ministries, departments and agencies were being painted.
For instance, the building hosting the Ministry of Health and Education has been repainted with new boards mounted on the building.
Refurbishment of the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Ministries of Youths and Sports Development, Science and Technology among others, were also ongoing on Thursday.
Also, several missing manholes were being replaced in the city centre.
As part of the security measures, police and Nigeria Air Force helicopters were seen hovering above the Federal Capital Territory on surveillance.
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, confirmed that security had been beefed up across the country in preparation for the Presidential inauguration ceremony slated for May 29 at Eagle Square, Abuja.
He added that the police had been working hand-in-hand in collaboration with all levels of government, the private sector, the Nigerian Armed Forces, and other security agencies to ensure the safety and security of all citizens; and have a laudable and seamless inauguration ceremony on May 29, 2023.
Baba made the revelations on Thursday during a press briefing at the Force Headquarters, Louis Edet House, Abuja.
He said adequate personnel had been detailed to protect the Presidential Villa, provide security at and around Eagle Square and man the borders, seaports, and airports, while others will equally be deployed to man the entry and exit points of the FCT and other critical government installations.
According to him, since the announcement of Bola Tinubu as president-elect, specific plans had been formed for the inauguration ceremony, as contained in the operation order, which will provide enhanced protection while allowing guests, well-meaning Nigerians, and the international community to witness the event.
Baba stated, “Since the conclusion of the 2023 general elections and the announcement of the President-elect, security has been beefed up throughout the country. We have formed specific plans for the inauguration ceremony as contained in the operation order, which will provide enhanced protection while allowing guests, well-meaning Nigerians, and the international community to witness the event.
“We work hand-in-hand and collaborate with all levels of government, private sectors, the Nigerian Armed Forces, and other security agencies to ensure the safety and security of all citizens; and have a laudable and seamless inauguration ceremony on May 29, 2023.
“The Nigeria Police Force is mobilising its operatives to provide a comprehensive security arrangement. Adequate personnel have been detailed to protect the Presidential Villa, provide security at and around Eagle Square, to man all the Nigerian borders, seaports, and airports, while others will equally be deployed to man the entry and exit points of the capital city, Abuja, and other critical government installations.
“Amongst these operatives are men drawn from the NPF Special Forces, Police Mobile Force, Counter Terrorism Unit, Special Protection Unit, Anti-Bomb Squad, FIB-Intelligence Response Team, Special Tactical Squad, NPF Medical, NPF Mounted Troops, and K9, among others.
“The NPF has also deployed all its serviceable helicopters and highly efficient drones for aerial surveillance in Abuja and its environs. All NPF serviceable water cannons and Armoured Personnel Carriers will as well be deployed in strategic places around the capital city.”
Baba noted that police officers and other security operatives will be located along routes to and from the inauguration grounds.
The police will also be taking rigorous safety measurements around the persons entering the venue, which include screenings and searches.
The personnel will also take charge of traffic control in collaboration with the protocol subcommittee of the transition committee to have a seamless traffic flow.
The police will also be taking rigorous safety measurements around the persons entering the venue, including carrying out screenings and searches.
In line with the outlined activities to commemorate the inauguration
the ceremony, there will be Juma’at prayers on Friday (today) at the Central
Mosque, Abuja, Church Service on Sunday at the Ecumenical Centre and fireworks show at 12:01 am on Monday at the City Gate, Abuja.
The force further advised Nigerians not to panic due to the fireworks show.
It warned individuals who do not have any business around the vicinity during the ceremony to steer clear of the venue.
The IG noted, “The police wish to equally inform the general public that there will be diversions in the following areas – Goodluck Jonathan Expressway by Court of Appeal, Deeper Life Junction, Bond/Total Filling Station, POWA/FCDA Junction, Finance Junction by ECOWAS/Women Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Eagle Square ( Phase 1 & Phase 11), Kur Muhammad Way/National Mosque, Abia House, NITEL Junction by Ademola Adetokunbo, Gana Junction/Transcorp, Bayelsa House by Federal High Court, Aso Drive, Ceddi Plaza, NNPC Twin Tower, and NNPC/NBS.’’
In a statement, the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi disclosed that the inauguration ceremonies at the state level had been catered for, adding that the IG has directed Command Commissioners of Police and other security agencies to carry out heavy deployments to fortify venues of the inauguration ceremonies in their various states.
In preparation for their new roles, the Nigeria Police Force has conducted a three-day induction course for officers appointed as chief security officers, Aides-de-Camp, and orderlies to newly-elected state governors and other Very Important Persons.
The 71 participants were trained on their duties and responsibilities in carrying out protective services in their different postings.
Adéjobí said, “The induction course catered to 53 CSOs and ADCs, as well as 18 Orderlies. The training similarly covered the Rules of Engagement and Standard Operational Procedures to apply in various simulated situations as well as specific policies and etiquettes for strict adherence.
He said, “Seasoned officers with a wealth of experiential knowledge, led by the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, were on the ground to coordinate the course.
“The IG emphasized the role of professionalism and commitment in effectively carrying out these specialized policing services and charged the officers and men to continuously develop themselves for efficiency.”
In a fresh alarm, the Department of State Services has disclosed that some elements were planning to disrupt the handover ceremonies in some parts of the country.
According to the service, the plotters intended to undermine the efforts of the security agencies as well as cause panic among the citizens.
In a statement on Thursday by the spokesperson for the service, Peter Afunanya urged citizens to adhere to the laid down protocols for the events across the country.
It partly read, “The Service is, however, aware of plans by subversive elements to disrupt the programmes in parts of the country. The aim is to undermine security agencies’ efforts at ensuring peaceful ceremonies as well as creating panic and fear among members of the public.’’