GEJ beefs up security at the seat of government.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday in Abuja, inaugurated a newly formed 176 Special Forces Battalion, adding to the existing 177 and 7 battalions of the Presidential Guards Brigade.
This inauguration is coming amidst dire security challenges in the country, with hundreds of citizens losing their lives in the wake of insurgency movements.
The Guard’s Brigade is a special unit of the military specifically charged with the responsibility of the security of the president and the seat of government.
The ceremony, which took place at the fore-court of the Presidential Villa, was part of the activities lined up for the 52nd independence anniversary.
The Minister of State for Defence, Olusola Obada, explained that the newly established battalion was to strengthen the Guard’s Brigade and to make it more effective in responding to security challenges in and around the Federal Capital Territory.
Ms. Obada said the ceremonial presentation of colours to the battalion was symbolic and could only be done by the President and the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, in his speech said the ceremony was special and grand, in marking the independence of Nigeria.
Mr. Abati said the 52nd independence anniversary, like that of 2011, was low-keyed to save costs and adequately prepare for the big event of 2014, when the nation would mark 100 years of existence from the amalgamation of 1914.
He debunked the claim that the event was moved to the villa for security reasons.
“The anniversary is also low-keyed this year taking place within the precincts of the State House.
“President Jonathan has personally responded to the allegation that the event is being held within the State House by making it clear that in 2014, we will have a big event; the centenary of Nigeria since amalgamation,” Mr. Abati said.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mariam Mukhtar, led other justices and heads of court to the event.
Also in attendance were former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon; ministers; presidential aides; members of the diplomatic corps; the business community; representatives of religious leaders; and traditional rulers.