Tight security as Jonathan gets set to open confab

FBL-AFR-2013-NIGERIA

President Goodluck Jonathan

Ayorinde Oluokun/Abuja

Security has been beefed up around the Federal Capital Territory as delegates to the National Conference which will be declared open later today by President Goodluck Jonathan continue to arrive into the city from various parts of the country.

Teams of security men made up of officials of the police anti riot squad, the anti-bomb unit, and State Security Service have been deployed in and around the venue to ensure that only those with appropriate accreditation are allowed inside the venue.

It was also observed that there was heavy deployment of security men at all the entrances and exit into Abuja, including at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport.

Also, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has deployed its officials at the venue and at strategic areas around the city to ensure smooth flow of traffic. Some of the delegates are busy with their accreditation at the National Judicial Institute, the venue of the exercise as at the time of filing in this story.

President Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan

James Akpandem, Assistant Secretary, Media and Communication of the Conference had in a statement yesterday said delegates are expected to arrive the venue of the conference by 10 am today for accreditation for the inauguration ceremony fixed for 4 pm.

He also said all invited guests and delegates were expected to be seated by 3.15 pm ahead of the inauguration by Jonathan.

But P.M. NEWS observed that scores of delegates did their accreditation yesterday.

The delegates were issued with tags with machine-readable security features after the accreditation. It was however gathered that the screening of delegates will continue after the inauguration for those who may not be able to do it today.

P.M. NEWS also gathered that all the delegates will be issued and made to sign a code of ethics made up of a set of rules and regulations to guide their deliberations and their behaviour during the conference by the Conference Committee.

It was learnt that this was one of the measures adopted to ensure that the discussions at the conference did not veer off course, especially on the issue of the continued existence of Nigeria as an entity which the government has told the delegates is a ‘no go area.’

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Nevertheless, it was learnt that one of the initial problems that delegates will have to tackle after the inauguration may be on the procedures for voting at the Conference.

The Federal Government had in the 2014 Appropriation Act budgeted N7 billion for the National Conference to be attaended by 492 delegates across the country.

APC set to review position on national conference

Buba Galadima, a long time associate of former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari and a chieftain of All Progressives Congress, APC was one of the delegates who had done their registration as at yesterday.

Galadima who is a Yobe State delegate to the Conference told journalists that APC may review its decision to boycott the conference at an emergency meeting of the party scheduled for Tuesday.

The opposition party had refused to nominate delegates to fill the two slots reserved for political parties with representatives at the National Assembly at the Conference.

The party had accused President Jonathan of plotting a hidden agenda with the Conference. APC Governors however nominated delegates to represent their states at the conference and Galadima himself is representing Yobe.

But while speaking to reporters after his accreditation yesterday, Galadima, said APC would finally decide whether to attend the conference or not during a meeting the party had scheduled for tomorrow.

“APC will be meeting on Tuesday where they would decide to attend or not but for now, we have to be part of this so that even if we become minority, the majority can have their way but the minority must have their say,” said Galadima.

He added that the Party will want to be part of the Conference so as to put its position on some of the issues that will be discussed on record.