9 In SSS Custody Over Abuja Independence Day Blast

Source: EWACHE AJEFU, ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF - thewillnigeria.com
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ABUJA, Oct 04, (THEWILL) - Nine persons have today been arrested by the State Security Service (SSS), over last Friday’s Abuja dual bombings where scores of persons died and many were left wounded. The Police said the aim of the bombers was to disrupt the golden jubilee celebration as Nigeria clocked 50.

In a press conference in Abuja, SSS image maker, Mrs. Marilyn Ogar revealed how an attempted blast was prevented at the Three Arms Zone in Abuja, where six vehicles were positioned for the operation on September 28, 2010.

She explained that SSS immediately swung into action with both the police and the military, by evacuating nine (9) vehicles that were abandoned within the three arms zone thereby hindering the first attempted blast designed for September 29.

"The despicable act of terrorism which eventually took place on October 1st, 2010 was planned for Wednesday, September 29, 2010, but was foiled as soon as the information was received during the early hours of 28th September, 2010. The overriding objective of the group was to scare foreign visitors from attending the 50th celebration on 1st of October," Ogar said.

"On Tuesday, 28th September, 2010 about 0130 hours, information was received that the 3 arms zone was to be bombed and 6 vehicles had already being prepared for the purpose but the Service contacted the military which provided 3 towing trucks which were added to that of the Service to evacuate the abandoned vehicles.

"During the operations that lasted from 0215 to 0630 of the same date, a total of 9 abandoned vehicles were towed away and of these, 2 were near the SSS headquarters, 2 facing the Villa gate and the National Assembly, 2 close to the police headquarters, 1 at the Eagle Square and 2 around Apo Legislative quarters.

"Later the Federal Road Safety Corp, FRSC and the Vehicle Inspection Office, VIO, were co-opted into the operations, to move around the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, towing away abandoned vehicles. These efforts which lasted till the morning of October 1, saw 65 abandoned vehicles removed, it is worthy of note that out of the 7 vehicles removed from the Three Arms Zone, 4 are yet to be collected.

"When the plan A of the group was foiled, they resorted to the penetration of the Eagle Square in an attempt to plant explosive devices but the Service had deployed hi-tech equipment in and around the Eagle Square and jammed the detonation of any such explosives," she emphasized.

She further stressed that; "On October 1, the Eagle Square and its environs were cordoned off and appropriate measures were put in place by the joint efforts of all security and law enforcement agencies to prevent any untoward incident but the rain showers of that morning provided the leeway for double parking by motorists and in the process the perpetrators apparently gained access to park on the road side as well.

"So far, 9 arrests have been made and all have direct links with Henry Okah, the incident and some unscrupulous prominent elements in the society but due to on-going investigations, the names of the suspects and their sponsors cannot be disclosed at this stage," she said.

"As far as I am concerned the security measures were effective, imagine a situation whereby the bombs were planted at the Eagle Square what would have happened to that large crowd at the venue.

"Meanwhile, from all indications there is a security alert in the capital city, as major roads leading to the 3 arms zone are guarded by heavily armed security agents," the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, South African prosecutors according to a Reuters report brought terrorism charges against Nigerian militant leader Henry Okah on Monday for deadly bomb blasts in the Nigerian capital. Prosecutors at a court in Johannesburg charged Okah, who lives in South Africa, with conspiracy to commit a terrorist act and the detonation of explosive devices in Abuja. His lawyer denied his involvement.

"The accused is linked to the bombing that took place in Abuja," said Hein Louw, the magistrate overseeing the court proceeding.