Security tight, as govt holds special presidential change of guard.

THE Federal Government on Tuesday marked the 53rd independence anniversary celebrations with a special presidential change of guard and signpost ceremony at the fore-court of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the parade replaces the flamboyant anniversary which usually hold at the Eagle Square before 2011.
NAN reports that the ceremony was conducted by 136 officers and men of the Nigerian Army under the command of Brig.-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe.
The ceremony, which lasted for about an hour, began with the arrival of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The President, on arrival, inspected the Guards Brigade before moving to the podium where he received general salute, followed by rendition of the National Anthem.
Prayers was subsequently offered by the President of the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritshejafor, and the Deputy Chief Imam of the Abuja National Mosque, Dr Ibrahim Zaria.
The presidential change of guards was performed by the soldiers with military display, foot and arms drill and rhythmic and calculated steps.
Their weapons and uniforms were inspected to ensure tidiness.
After the ceremony, the President signed the anniversary register and proceeded to cut the anniversary cake.
To cut the cake, the President was supported by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, the Senate President, David Mark, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal,
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, and former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, also gave a helping hand to the President.
The President subsequently released the flock of pigeons, which signifies peace and freedom.
NAN further reports that the ceremony was witnessed by serving ministers, ambassadors, members of the diplomatic corps, high profile politicians and members of the organised private sector.
Security was beefed up in and around the FCT with combined security operatives taking positions at strategic locations on Tuesday, as Nigeria celebrated its 53rd independence anniversary .
NAN Correspondents who monitored activities at the city centre on Tuesday, reports that the operatives were supported by police Amoured Personnel Carriers (APCs).
NAN also observed that armed military embarked on motorised patrol of the city areas as part of efforts to ensure the security of persons and property.
The Eagle Square, the venue where most important events like the independence anniversary were usually celebrated by government functionaries, was devoid of activities except some security personnel keeping guard.
At Nyanya, a satellite town in the FCT which borders Nasarawa state, a police ACP with armed personnel was deployed, while heavily armed soldiers were on guard at the Millennium Park in Maitama.
NAN also reports that a few holiday makers, who went to recreation centres for relaxation, were thoroughly frisked by the security personnel.
Traffic was light along some major roads in the city centre while motorists going into hotels, parks and shopping malls were stopped and subjected to thorough screening.
NAN further reports that the ‘stop and check’ caused heavy traffic in some parts of the city areas.
The FCT Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Altine Daniel, told NAN that the heavy presence of police in the territory was in line with the directive of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar.
NAN recalls that the I.G. had, on Sunday, placed police on red alert to ensure a hitch-free Independence Day celebration nationwide.
Abubakar specifically directed all Zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Commissioners of Police in charge of state commands and maritime to ensure adequate and effective deployment of manpower in their areas.
He asked them to pay special attention to shopping malls, parks, beaches, highways and other critical infrastructure and sensitive areas to guarantee the safety of citizens.