Security is airtight in and around the Eagle Square, Abuja, as the National Convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) gets underway.
At least 7,000 delegates from all over the country are expected to gather at the venue to adopt President Muhammadu Buhari as the party’s flagbearer for next year’s presidential election.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that all roads leading to the venue have been shut to vehicular traffic by combined teams of heavily armed security personnel.
The agencies involved include the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Army.
Safety and emergency services such as the Federal Road Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the FCT Vehicle inspection Office (VIO) and the Federal and FCT and Fire Service are also taking part.
Traffic is being diverted at major intersections several metres away from the venue on both sides of the Ahmedu Bello and Shehu Shagari ways, and adjoining routes leading to the Eagle Square.
As at the time of filing this report at 2:30 p.m., which is 30 minutes after the rescheduled kick-off time of 2 p.m., the event had yet to start.
But the stage is set inside the Eagle Square where organisers are putting finishing touches to decorations on canopies and empty chairs prepared for delegates.
Meanwhile, hawkers and other traders have taken over the Federal Secretariat car park behind the square and roadsides outside the security perimeter around the venue.