MEND Regrets Loss Of Lives

2010-10-03
THE GUARDIAN Newspaper

MOVEMENT for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has expressed regrets over Friday's multiple bombings in Abuja that claimed many lives.
This comes even as President Goodluck Jonathan has ascribed security lapses to the attacks he said had nothing to do with MEND or the Niger Delta.
The President said the people who sponsored the actions were flaunting MEND and the Niger Delta to perpetrate their evil acts.

The explosions killed and/or injured an unspecified number of people and destroyed several vehicles around the Eagle Square where President Jonathan reviewed the parade and took salute for the anniversary.

Besides Nigerians, many heads of state and governments and their representatives were present when the bombs went off between 10.55am and 11am.
The militant group yesterday said it deeply regrets the avoidable loss of lives during our bomb attack in Abuja on Friday, October 1, 2010.

Our hearts go to the families of those killed, who we know were sympathetic to our cause, it said in an electronic message authored by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo.
According to MEND, the irresponsible attitude of the government security forces is to blame for the loss of lives. They were given five days prior notice, which led to the harassment of Henry Okah on Thursday, September 30 in South Africa.

Okah has never been involved in any MEND operations but has always been blamed for every attack, which is strange to us.

Gbomo said, the security forces were also warned one full hour to the first bomb blast ahead of the general alert sent to the media and told to steer the public from all parked cars, which was not done.

The explosions had blighted the 50th Independence anniversary celebration, prompting President Jonathan to promise an overhaul of the security system in the country while security has been placed on red alert nationwide to prevent a recurrence.

In particular, Abuja, the seat of governmental power, is brimming with massive security layout even as the police have made no arrest of the perpetrators of the explosions that almost dampened the country's celebration of its golden jubilee yesterday.

Instructively, the scene of the blast has been cordoned off with heavy security presence.

The Police yesterday said that, at least, 11 of their men were seriously injured by the blast. Confirming the incident to The Guardian, FCT Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Moshood Jimoh, said the injured officers were receiving treatment in various hospitals in Abuja.

He confirmed that no arrest had been made more than 36 hours after the blast.

But President Jonathan said those who sponsored the twin attacks were merely masquerading as MEND to perpetrate the bloody crime.

The president, who barely three weeks ago changed heads of security and intelligence agencies, told journalists that the incidences of bomb blasts, while Nigeria was celebrating its 50 years anniversary are acts of terrorism that succeeded through security lapses.

After a visit to casualties of the blast at the National Hospital in Abuja yesterday, Jonathan said the bombings had nothing to do with the Niger Delta and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

He stated that people, who were flaunting MEND and the Niger Delta, sponsored the actions to perpetrate their evil acts.

He disclosed that the Federal Government knew the perpetrators and would fish them out as investigations proceeds.

President Jonathan sympathised with the victims and promised to pick the bills and also take care of dependants of those who lost their lives in the dastardly actions
The Minister of State for Health, Alhaji Suleiman Bello, said the situation with the bomb blast victims is quite fair.

There are about 101 involved in the explosion. Out of this, we have about 36 on admission. About 53 had already been discharged, he said.
One of the victims, who gave his name as Sergeant Tonoshi, said he was hit by the second blast.

According to him, they were controlling the crowd at the Eagle Square when he and his group were alerted of a blast around Transcorp Hilton.
However, President Jonathan said the government was on the trail of the sponsors of the act and they would all be brought to book.

He reiterated this warning yesterday at the opening session of the first organised colloquium by the ECOWAS Parliament to mark the 50th Independence Anniversary of African States at the ECOWAS Parliament Building, Abuja.

The President thanked members of ECOWAS and the distinguished invited guests to the Anniversary celebration, for joining to condemn the sad incidence.

While commending the ECOWAS Parliament for organising the colloquium, he called on African leaders and all stakeholders to devote time to reflect on the continent's performances so far and treat various perspectives of issues to be discussed in order to arrive at a synthesis of proposals to move the continent forward.

He said: Our today's reality is that many countries in the continent are plagued by difficult challenges ranging from poverty, poor healthcare delivery, corruption, insecurity and mal-administration.

As a result, the continent is in dire need of solutions to these critical problems, which must be articulated and fully implemented to uplift the living standards of our populace.

Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mahamane Ousmane, said the colloquium was an avenue for sober reflection on the continent's performance in the last 50 years with the aim of correcting past mistakes.

The Senate President, David Mark, in his remarks, noted that the colloquium would assist the continent in reassessing and re-engineering achievements made so far and review the policy of integration that will help the continent forge ahead and align with international best practices for a better future.

Contacted last night on the Abuja bombings, a senior security operative and manager has urged the presidency not to lose sight of a recent report that the security and intelligence agencies had been under-funded.

Specifically, the operative said the capital votes of the agencies were reduced by 70 per cent just as other agencies in this year's budget. Similarly, there had been no security votes for the forthcoming elections.

Four weeks ago, The Guardian had exclusively reported that there had been some disquiet in the security and intelligence community about under-funding and failure to include security institutions in the budget for the 2011 elections that have effectively begun.

They had then feared that the security agencies would be the scapegoat for lapses that would be recorded as a result of lack of modern equipment and gadgets to face security challenges in these times.

Meanwhile, condemnation has trailed the attacks. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Yusuf Ali described the incident as senseless, cowardly and ungodly bombing of innocent people.

Ali said, nothing can justify the spilling of innocent blood in the name of whatever cause,stressing that our country has enough problems already to now add terrorism.
All true patriots must stand in unison to condemn this abominable act. It is time for the security agencies to rise up to the challenges of a modern country. Anyone could be the next victim, he said.

He prayed Allah grant repose to the souls of those that died and provide succour to the wounded.

 

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