The summit is expected to be attended by over 10 heads of state and government as well as over 900 delegates from 70 countries. Presidents of Algeria, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Togo have confirmed attendance.
Former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and former President of Brazil, Lula da Silva, are expected to attend. Also, over 50 chief executives of big global corporations have confirmed attendance.
However, because of recent blasts in Nyanya – on the outskirts of Abuja – there have been heightened fears of a possible terror attack during the summit.
Nigerian government has been assuring the world that it would provide maximum security, announcing a complete shut-down of schools and government offices during the summit. TheCable reported on Tuesday that a 6,000-strong personnel, made up of soldiers and other security agents, will be deployed in Abuja – the heaviest security for a summit in Nigeria. The US marines have already arrived the country, according to sources in the know of their movement.
“They are not going to be directly involved in the World Economic Forum event,” a senior American security source told TheCable. “Their brief is to train the Nigerian security services. It should be expected that Nigerian agents will handle the security of the summit.” The marines are highly specialised soldiers who have been deployed in areas affected by serious conflict and terrorism, such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
They are described in Wikipedia as “an amphibious, expeditionary, air-ground combined arms task force, capable of forcible entry from the air, land, and sea. It is capable of asymmetric warfare with conventional, irregular, and hybrid forces.
While the Marine Corps does not employ any unique combat arms, as a force it can rapidly deploy a combined-arms task force to almost anywhere in the world within days.”
Meanwhile, TheCable has learnt that some of the extra security measures for the summit include:
Immediate deployment of the high security operation as against previous plans to deploy them from Tuesday Expansion of secure zone perimeters at key locations (initially limited to 250 metres radius) Additional security at venues, Abuja airport and key roads, as well as on dedicated shuttle services to and from the airport and between venues.