Administrative and commercial activities were paralysed at the National Assembly Complex Abuja on Wednesday when President Muhammadu Buhari visited the complex to present the 2017 Appropriation Bill.
The President presented the 2017 budget proposal to a joint session of both chambers of the National Assembly.
Several members of staff of the National Assembly, especially junior workers, were not allowed into the premises.
After entering through these gates, there are two more gates to cross before getting to the National Assembly building and all were manned by list-bearing security personnel who checked through the papers for identification of each entrant.
Although journalists with the identity cards of the Senate and the House Press Corps were allowed into the building, only those selected and accredited by the National Assembly management were allowed into the chamber to witness the presentation.
Those who could cross the first gate were not allowed to cross the second with their cars, except senior officials of the Assembly.
The car park behind the complex – at the Presidential Villa-end gate of the National Assembly – which was always filled to capacity by 10am, was empty until Buhari left the premises.
Businesses in the premises were also closed for the budget presentation. Banks, restaurants and shops of telecommunication service providers in the building were closed.
A massive deployment of security operatives from various agencies were observed in and around the complex.
As early as 6am, security operatives had occupied the three entry points into the complex – the main gate, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation gate and the Presidential Villa gate.
Buhari’s presentation, which was scheduled to begin at 10am, did not start until 2pm.
The President arrived at the Assembly at 1:57pm. Members of the National Executive Council and leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress had arrived the National Assembly Complex about 15 minutes ahead of the President.
Members of the federal cabinet in attendance included the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN); Minister of Budget and National Planning; Udo Udoma; and the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi.
The APC leaders in attendance included the National Vice-Chairman (South), Segun Oni; and National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni.
The Acting Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen, also witnessed the presentation.