May 28, 2023

From Obasanjo down to Tinubu: Terrorist attack, car bomb, democracy continues at Eagle Square


By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

24 hours to the handover of power from President Muhammadu Buhari to President-elect Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, all eyes are on the Eagle Square in Abuja, where the ceremony will take place.

This iconic location has been the venue for several high-profile events, including presidential handover ceremonies, national celebrations, and political rallies.

The Eagle Square has a rich history, having been commissioned in 1999 by then-President Olusegun Obasanjo to serve as a ceremonial ground for the national flag-raising ceremony. Since then, it has become a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.

As the country prepares for the presidential handover ceremony, findings by Sunday Vanguard indicate that security measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of all attendees.

Recall that the Eagle Square has been the target of terrorist attacks in the past. During the tenure of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Eagle Square experienced a security breach when a car bomb exploded outside the venue during the country’s 52nd Independence Day celebrations on October 1, 2012. The attack left several people dead and many more injured.

The incident highlighted the need for increased security measures at the venue, and the government subsequently took steps to prevent a recurrence of such an incident. The security measures included the deployment of more security personnel, the use of bomb detectors, and the installation of CCTV cameras around the venue.

Despite the tragic incidents, Eagle Square has remained a popular destination for high-profile events, including presidential handover ceremonies.

The government has continued to prioritize the security of attendees at such events, and the measures put in place have helped to prevent any further security breaches at the venue.

Security personnel will be deployed to the venue, and attendees will be subjected to strict security checks to ensure their safety.

Security cover
Speaking about the security measures, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha said: “Adequate arrangements have been made for the safety and security of all people throughout the inauguration period.”

In the same breath, the Chairman, Security, Facilities, and Intelligence Committee of the Presidential Transition Council and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, said covert and overt operations had been put in place to secure the venues as well as hotels for guests’ accommodation.

Monguno added that attacks during the events were not being envisaged, warning those who have no business at the venues of the events to steer clear of them.

“Our primary function is to provide both overt and covert security cover for all the venues where the stated activities would be held, including the hotels where guests would be staying. The span of our work is before, during, and after the inauguration”, he said.

‘’My advice is that if you have no business at the venue, you need not be there. The most important message I would like to pass across to you is that we do not envisage anything negative. Everybody should be calm, especially those coming from other countries”.

The Eagle Square has a capacity of over 100,000 people, making it an ideal location for large-scale events such as presidential handover ceremonies. It is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including a sound system, lighting, and seating arrangements, which make it a comfortable and convenient venue for such events.

As the country prepares for the handover of power from President Buhari to President-elect Tinubu, the Eagle Square is once again set to play a pivotal role in Nigeria’s political history.

Commenting on the significance of the venue, an Abuja-based political analyst, Dr. Nnamdi Chime, said, “The Eagle Square has become a symbol of Nigeria’s democracy, and it is fitting that it should be the venue for such a historic event.”

The handover ceremony is expected to be a grand affair, with dignitaries and guests from all over the country and beyond in attendance. The Eagle Square will be transformed into a sea of colors, as supporters of both parties come out in full force to witness the historic occasion.

The Eagle Square stands as a testament to the country’s resilience and determination to overcome adversity. It is a source of pride for many Nigerians, and a reminder of the country’s rich history and cultural heritage.