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Did officials know of plans to bomb Abuja?

Bombs kill at Nigeria's 50th anniversary independent day celebration

Oct 01, 2010

Two car bombs exploded near the Eagle Square venue of Nigeria’s 50th independence anniversary celebration that killed over 10.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan made this statement:

“Coming at a time that the world had gathered together to celebrate Nigeria at 50, these bomb attacks are the worst anniversary gift any nation can get. “Their purpose was to ensure that the celebration at Eagle Square was cancelled by all means. It is sad and unfortunate”. “President Goodluck Jonathan grieves with the families that have lost loved ones in the incidents. The president shares their consternation and understands their confoundment, as they mourn while the nation celebrates”.

“The president wants these families to know that their loved ones have not died in vain. Rather they have paid the supreme price for our unity; and in their death, they have watered the tree of our freedom”. “

To those behind these vicious acts, the president wants you to know that you will be found, and you will pay dearly for this heinous crime,” the statement said.

The Nigerian Federal Government yesterday described as wicked and criminal, the twin bomb blasts that claimed the lives of over 10 persons and injuring scores of others, including two mobile policemen, in Abuja. The first bomb explosion, at the Eagle Square, occurred minutes after President Goodluck Jonathanreviewed the military parademounted by a combined detachment of troops, in the armed forces and police.

The explosion which was detonated about 40 meters from the state box, where President Jonathan, Vice President NnamdiSambo and other visiting heads of governmentwere sitting, at the Eagle Square, the venue of the nation’s 50thanniversary celebration left the two mobile policemen injured. The dead were evacuated to different morgues within the city while the injured were taken to the different hospitals for treatment.

The incidents could however not stop the grand military parades, and calisthenics display that was witnessed by thousands of Nigeriansas they cheered and clapped to commemorate the nation’s 50thanniversary celebration. PresidentJonathan directed the respective security agenciesto uncover those responsible for the act for maximum punishment.

Ima Niboro, senior adviser on media and publicity said in a statement said it was lamentable that the act was the worst anniversary giftfor the nation as it marks 50 years of nationhood. “The bomb explosions which occurred near the Ministry of Justicein Abuja, and which claimed several lives are a low, dirty and wicked act of desperation by criminals and murderers who do not wish Nigeriawell.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta is believed to be responsible for the attack. The first car bomb reportedly exploded near the Ministry of Justice and as firemen were trying to douse the fire, a second one went off close by. The bombs went off not quite an hour after an e-mail from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta warned that there were bombs around the parade ground. According to the e-mail signed by MEND spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, “several explosive devices have been successfully planted in and around the venue by our operatives working inside the government security services. In evacuating the area, keep a safe distance from vehicles and trash bins” the e-mail warned. The militant group had also warned to leave the venue before 10.30 am.

Facts are emerging that the Nigerian government may have had knowledge of the bomb blasts.

Eight or more people, mostly security personels died in the bomb blasts.
In a failed attempt to stop the attack, the Interpol allegedly raided the home of Nigerian rebel leader, Henry Okah in Johannesburg, South Africa at the request of the Nigerian government.

According to South African sources, a combined team of security officials and the Interpol numbering over 50 conducted the dawn raid on Thursday night. The raid which lasted several hours yielded no result as no weapon was found at Mr. Okah’s home.

Mr. Okah’s South African lawyer, Mr. Kruger was present throughout the duration of the search. Okah was not arrested as no incriminating evidence was found.
Okah told The Times of Nigeria on telephone from South Africa that he was shocked at the blast and was alerted to it by a reporter of the British Broadcasting Service (BBC).

“I was taking a nap when a BBC reporter called to enquire about the Abuja blast. I have no knowledge of it and was as shocked as everyone. The government should look inwards to solve its internal problem. I live in South Africa not Nigeria.” Okah said over the telephone.

The Times of Nigeria can also reveal that the Presidency also made desperate attempt to reach Mr. Okah in the past few days all to no avail.

A former commissioner in Bayelsa State who currently serves as a Senior Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan reached out to Okah and tried to establish communication between Okah and President Jonathan but Okah allegedly declined to speak with Jonathan.

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe was also said to have made several attempts to reach Okah on telephone but his calls were not answered. Orubebe has served as a linkman in the past for rebel groups operating in the Niger Delta.

Bombs kill at Nigeria's 50th anniversary independent day  celebration

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