SA, Okah, IBB, Atiku, Group Behind Bombing - Presidency Source
San Francisco, Oct 1, (THEWILL) – The Presidency is holding the Jacob Zuma led South African Government, Leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Mr Henry Okah, former Military Dictator Ibrahim Babangida and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar responsible for today’s deadly bombing that killed 16 persons including one State Security Service (SSS) Assistant Director and a former EFCC operative.
Two car bombs exploded a few metres from the Eagle Square on Friday morning a few minutes after the militant group, MEND issued an emailed warning to invited guests to evacuate.
A highly placed security source who opted to remain anonymous told THEWILL a few hours after the explosions that intelligence reports obtained last week from a foreign European government intelligence unit showed that a political group with strong ties to Babangida and Atiku had paid the MEND leader close to $100 million dollars to truncate the 50th independence anniversary celebration of the oil rich nation in Abuja.
Acting on this intelligent, the Nigerian government contacted the South African Government for help to foil the attack. It was gathered that the SA authorities stormed the residence of Mr. Henry Okah two days ago in an early morning raid. The source said the Nigerian government was taken aback when the SA government curiously released Mr. Okah a few hours later which showed the SA government might have been a conspirator in the bombings.
"The South African Government has a hand in this act of terrorism perpetuated against innocent Nigerian souls. We gave them the intelligence we obtained from our Western ally. They acted on it and arrested Henry Okah and to our surprise he was quickly released," the source said adding that the Nigerian government is on the verge of severing diplomatic ties with the South African government for the deadly bombings.
"Our government will cut diplomatic relations with South Africa for this wicked act. The Presidency formally contacted the South African authorities on Friday night over this."
The source further said the aim of the bombings was to force President Goodluck Jonathan to cancel the 50th independence anniversary parade at the Eagle Square and create a feeling of insecurity hoping to eventually force the president to either resign or abandon his presidential bid for 2011.
Curiously, checks at the Eagle Square showed that all former living heads of state attended today’s anniversary ceremony except General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.
Those in attendance were General Yakubu Gowon, General Olusegun Obasanjo, President Shehu Shagari, General Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Ernest Shonekan and General Abdulsalam Abubakar.
Recall that General Babangida and Vice President Atiku Abubakar both declared their interest to run in the 2011 presidential election a few weeks. Both candidates have been strong proponents of zoning the presidential ticket of the PDP to the north. The have been very outspoken and often confrontational in asking the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to present a northern candidate for the 2011 presidential election basing their argument on the party’s highly contentious zoning arrangement.
The National Working Committee (NWC) and the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party had ruled that the party would abide by its zoning principle and also ruled that it is unconstitutional to ask President Jonathan not to contest in the poll is if he wanted to.
The Northern Political Forum Leaders (NPFL) comprising former Finance Commissioner, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma; former Senate President, Dr Iyorchia Ayu; and a some politicians from the north have strongly warned the president against joining the presidential race threatening to make the country ungovernable if he runs.
A few days ago, the group issued a statement accusing the president of falsifying history by declaring openly that zoning in the PDP does not include the office of President and the Vice President.
Meanwhile, the presidency today issued a strong statement condemning the bombing while commiserating with the families of those killed and wounded in the attack.
The source said President Jonathan was infuriated by the incident and has vowed to deploy resources to unmask the identities of those who masterminded the dual attack with the aim of bringing them to justice.
"The president has vowed that those who died will not die in vain. He has instructed security forces to leave no stone unturned in the search for those responsible for the murder of innocent Nigerians," the source said.
Attempts to reach presidential spokesman, Ima Niboro for comments were unsuccessful. Calls to both Babangida and Atiku's campaign organisations' spokesmen were not also responded to.
United States, United Nations Condemn Attack
Meanwhile, the United States government has also condemned the bombing. A statement from the State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said, "The United States condemns the bombings that took place this morning in Abuja marring the celebration of 50 years of independence.
"We express our condolences to the families of the victims and to the people of Nigeria on what should be a joyous occasion.
"This affirms the importance of Nigeria's upcoming elections. And we reiterate that violence has no place in political discourse in Nigeria or anywhere else," he wrote.
A statement issued on behalf of the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon via his spokesman, said: "The secretary-general condemns the car bombing today (Friday) near the venue of the National Day parade in (the capital) Abuja, which reportedly resulted in a number of deaths and destruction.
"The attack was particularly sad coming on the day on which Nigerians were celebrating the 50th anniversary of their nation's independence.
"The secretary-general expresses his sincere sympathy and condolences to the government and people of Nigeria and the bereaved families," the statement added.