The Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke, said on Friday that no fewer than 50 Heads of State and other delegates were being expected to attend the May 29 handing over ceremony.

Duke, while addressing a news conference in Abuja on the activities lined up for the inauguration of the new government, said that all the 54 countries in Africa had been invited to grace the occasion.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this is the first time in 16 years that the Democracy Day celebrations will witness the inauguration of a new President from an opposition party.

This development followed the victory of the All Peoples Congress (APC) in the March 28 Presidential election.

The minister, who is also the Chairman, Presidential Inauguration Planning Committee, said:“Many Heads of State are expected to be present; a large turnout of people will also be witnessed, especially from countries in Europe.

“This will give credit to the image of Nigeria, that we have attracted such positive attention to this inauguration and must ensure that the ceremony is a success.’’

He said that the committee is collaborating with security agencies to ensure adequate security.

“The security agencies are working in close contact to ensure that there will be absolutely no threat to security.

“Arrangement has been made to screen all invited guests, long before the access perimeters of the location.

“That is why we are asking for people who will attend the ceremony to ensure that they are accredited before the day.

“There is also a plan that in some locations within the city, there might be big screens for members of the public to follow the activities from their various homes.

“There will also be restricted access, to avoid traffic in and around the Eagle Square where the event will hold.’’

Duke said that the inauguration events commenced on Friday with a Juma`at Service at the Central Mosque while a Thanksgiving Service would be held on Sunday at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, at 3 p.m.

“On Thursday, May 28, there will be inauguration dinner at the State House Conference Hall at 7.p.m. while on Friday, May 29, the swearing-in ceremony will take place at Eagle Square at 9 a.m. in Abuja.

“Also, on the same day after the swearing in ceremony, a luncheon will take place at noon at the State House Banquet Hall and the inauguration Gala Night will also take place on the same day and same venue at 7p.m.’’

In a remark, Chief Olu Akinyelure, the co-Chairman, Presidential Transition Planning Committee, solicited the assistance of the media in projecting the country positively to the whole world.


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