Nigeria: Pervasive security at venue of ECOWAS Summit

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The 46th Ordinary Summit of the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, is being held in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, amid stepped-up security in the face of the insurgency that is ravaging parts of Africa's most populous nation, PANA reported from here Monday.

The Hilton Hotel venue of the summit that is being attended by leaders from most of the 15-member states, representatives of international organisations and members of the Diplomatic Corp, is under a security lockdown to forestall any security breach.

Stern-looking armed soldiers kitted as if for battle manned the hotel's main entrance, leaving no one in doubt about their resolve to protect the sprawling venue.

Inside the premises of the highbrow hotel, soldiers were seen patrolling in front of the cavernous Congress Hall that is hosting the leaders.

Roads leading to the hotel are being manned by hordes of security personnel, including from the police and the Federal Road Safety Corps.

Outside the perimeter fence, a military armoured personnel carrier with the inscription ''Guards Brigade'' was parked conspicuously next to a military truck filled with soldiers.

No one without accreditation tags, which have been embedded with security bar codes, is allowed into the Congress Hall, which is also brimming with plaincloth security personnel.

Ahead of the opening ceremony, phone signals at the venue were apparently jammed, making it difficult, if not impossible, to make or receive calls - part of measures to enhance security.

PANA reports that the enhanced security measures were necessitated by the Boko Haram insurgency that has claimed over 3,000 lives so far this year and left many more wounded.

The insurgents, who have demonstrated the capacity to strike at places and times of their own choosing, despite the efforts of the government, have struck the capital city many times in the past.

The police headquarters, the UN Complex and motor parks in Abuja have been targeted by the insurgents, with deadly consequences.
-0- PANA SEG/VAO 15Dec2014

15 december 2014 13:26:46




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