Security operatives struggled for several minutes on Friday to control hundreds of worshipers trying to touch or shake hands with President Muhammadu Buhari at the end of the Eid-el-Fitri prayers in Abuja.
Buhari admitted later that the surging crowd almost overwhelmed the security men and that “the incident is a clear indication that the ultimate security of leaders can only be guaranteed by God”.
Recounting his experience when he received a delegation of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) residents at the Presidential Villa, Buhari said he “had to hold tight to my gown to get to my car” as the youths surrounded him and his convoy.
His words: “Today, during and immediately after the prayers, I think I was bombarded by the youths who almost overwhelmed the security, and I had to hold tight to my gown to get to my car.
“I was advised to enter the car from the ADC side, and I refused. I went across trying to hold my hand to the wild youths who wanted to see me.
“On an occasion like this, it shows that after what happened to President Ronald Reagan of the USA, it is only God Almighty that protects leaders because in a mob like this, anybody with a sharp knife can get access and do a lot of damage.
“So, all the policemen and soldiers that were deployed since six o’ clock in the morning before I came out two hours later in the rain, cannot protect you.Only God protects. I hope God will continue to protect us.”
He thanked the delegation “most sincerely for fulfilling the tradition of greetings for whoever occupies this place “ during Sallah .
He also congratulated them ” for the privilege which only you residents of the FCT have to shake hands and take pictures with me.
“Other Nigerians are envious of you, if you don’t know it.”
Also speaking,Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said that the homage was a demonstration of the expectations for all religious faiths to live together in unity and peace.
He urged Nigerians to cooperate with the government as it strives to put things right.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Obinna Chukwu, who led the delegation, said the delegation was at the Villa to “congratulate both you and the Vice President as the FCT is the centre of excellence and we promote unity.That is why you have here Muslim and Christian faithful .”
Also on the delegation were the Chief Imam of the National Mosque, Abuja, Christian clerics, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Chief Justice of the Federation, the Service Chiefs and the Inspector General of Police.