President Goodluck Jonathan has declared next Wednesday-Friday work free days for government workers resident in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, as part of tight security measures put in place ahead of the World Economic Forum to be hosted in the city.
This is contained in a statement by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, on Friday.
The statement reads, “This is to inform the general public that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, has approved, as part of arrangements for the successful hosting of the World Economic Forum Africa, that all Government Offices and Schools in the Federal Capital Territory, except those on essential services, are to be closed from Wednesday, 7th to Friday, 9th May, 2014. Private Organisations with large number of staff may also wish to close down.”
Also allaying fear of insecurity in Abuja, the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said that the federal government would provide adequate security for participants and that President Jonathan would make a statement on the forum and security issues shortly.
“I think that by the time we hear some of the security measures that the President is going to announce, we will see that we will calm the nerves of those who are proposing to come.”
The minister also assured that government is working hard to ensure that the over 200 kidnapped girls are reunited with their families.
“It is not that the forum is not important but more important is the issues of the girls and supporting the families which have lost people. We will see what will happen with the forum; I am confident that things will be okay but our minds are not in it right now as on the issues of those who lost their lives and their families,” Okojo-Iweala said.
Meanwhile, a lawyer and lead director of the Centre for Social Justice, CSJ, Eze Onyekpere, has urged the federal government to ensure that the forum is held in order not to give in to terrorism.
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Onyekpere said government “must re-enforce security in the capital and around the country to enable the forum participants and other visitors to come without fear.”
`If we cancel an international event that has already been planned, it will be a very dangerous signal,’’ he said.