The Federal Government on Tuesday marked the 53rd independence anniversary celebrations with a special presidential change of guard and signpost ceremony at the fore-court of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the parade replaces the flamboyant anniversary which usually holds at the Eagle Square before 2011.
NAN reports that the ceremony was conducted by 136 officers and men of the Nigerian Army under the command of Brig.-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe.
The ceremony, which lasted for about an hour, began with the arrival of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The President, on arrival, inspected the Guards Brigade before moving to the podium where he received general salute, followed by rendition of the National Anthem.
Prayers were subsequently offered by the President of the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritshejafor, and the Deputy Chief Imam of the Abuja National Mosque, Dr Ibrahim Zaria.
The presidential change of guards was performed by the soldiers with military display, foot and arms drill and rhythmic and calculated steps.
Their weapons and uniforms were inspected to ensure tidiness.
After the ceremony, the President signed the anniversary register and proceeded to cut the anniversary cake.
To cut the cake, the President was supported by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, the Senate President, David Mark, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, and former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, also gave a helping hand to the President.
The President subsequently released the flock of pigeons, which signifies peace and freedom.
NAN further reports that the ceremony was witnessed by serving ministers, ambassadors, members of the diplomatic corps, high profile politicians and members of the organised private sector. (NAN)