Nigeria beefs up security in Abuja for World Economic Forum

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Nigeria says it is prepared to host the World Economic Forum on Africa in May, despite growing insecurity, as the threat posed by extreme Islamist group, Boko Haram continues to grow.

Boko Haram, an anti-government, anti-Christian, and anti-Western insurgency organisation in Nigeria’s northeast is ideologically opposed to Western international institutions.

Our security planning for the World Economic Forum on Africa is already well under way

The groups’ opposition to Western institutions was evident in their bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja in 2011

Nigeria has promised to mount a massive security operation in Abuja to protect dignitaries and participants at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, scheduled for May 7 to 9.

According to reports, more than 6,000 security personnel, consisting of police and army, would be deployed to guard the WEF Africa event in Abuja, securing an area the size of 250 square kilometres.

“Our security planning for the World Economic Forum on Africa is already well under way and will be the largest security operation ever mounted in this country for an international summit,” Nigerian Finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in a statement sent to forum participants.

The pledge from Nigeria’s ministry of finance was imperative following Monday’s morning bomb blast at a commuter bus station.

The bombing killed 71 people and injured more than 100 others.

The bombing has raised questions about the government’s ability to protect the capital ahead of the economic forum in May.

Nigeria has assured participants that they would be safe.

“These tragic events [Monday bombing] will not stop us from delivering on our promise to host a world-class meeting next month,” she said.

Besides hosting the event in Abuja, Nigeria is also pivotal to the dialogue at the economic forum on Africa.

Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and most populous nation – playing a crucial role in advancing the continent’s growth, yet it is also symbolic of the challenges of converting natural wealth into solutions that address tenacious social challenges.

The gathering in Abuja will bring together regional and global leaders to discuss innovative structural reforms and investments that can sustain the continent’s growth while creating jobs and prosperity for all its citizen.

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