How Uduaghan`s Stupidity Caused Bomb Blast/ Endangered Lives


Details have started unfolding on the Monday bomb blast at the Delta state Government House Annex in Warri, venue of the Vanguard's Post amnesty dialogue when two bombs suspected to have been planted by militants exploded.

No fewer than eight persons are said to have been roasted alive in a Mercedes Benz car while six were said to be seriously injured when two bombs suspected to have been planted by militants exploded at the government house annex venue of the vanguard newspapers post amnesty dialogue. The dialogue which promised kick start the restoration of hope in the Niger Delta came to abrupt end after the second successive explosive went off shattering the glasses at the hall and causing pandemonium. The first bomb exploded when the governors and other top dignitaries' convoy were arriving the venue of the programme which had over a thousand dignitaries seated. Though the impact of the explosive shook the whole venue, the arrival of the dignitaries who were looking worried however calmed the situation and the curiosity of the people. The Chairman of the occasion Gen. Andrew O Azazi took his address immediately after the national anthem, but barely two minutes after the host Mr. Sam Amuka took his turn another bomb went off this time few meters away from the government house, the impact this time around shook the whole hall shattering all the glasses and even that of the governor main office. Confusion came after the second explosion as all the dignitaries, governors, other invited guest and even security operatives ran helter-skelter not knowing where to run to there was confusion everywhere.

Those who escaped death:
Three governors, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta State), Ikedi Ohakim (Imo state), Adams Oshiomhole (Edo State), all from the Niger Delta region and some dignitaries narrowly escaped death. The Minister for Niger Delta, Ufot Ekaete, Gen. Azazi, Patrick Utomi, PFN President, Ayo Oritsejafor, Olu of Warri and other traditional rulers also escaped when the bombs exploded.

Uduaghan`s Stupidity! How MEND Bomb alert was ignored

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), had issued a bomb alert signed by Jomo Gbomo and calling for the evacuation of persons within the affected area but this call was ignored. Excerpts of the Bomb Alert issued by mend is as follows> After receiving the governor of Delta State declared in the Vanguard newspaper of February 22, 2010 that "the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is a media creation." This assertion coming from the same person who claimed publicly that an oil pipeline can be destroyed by one man armed with a bottle of petrol, is hardly surprising. What is surprising is how he managed to obtain a science degree.

Thinking of no better way to announce our continued presence in the Niger Delta to Mr Uduaghan, operatives of MEND today March 15, 2010, successfully breached the security at the Delta state government house in Warri and planted three explosive devices in and around this compound which is the venue of the Vanguard Post Amnesty Dialogue organised by the Vanguard newspaper.

These devices will be detonated remotely.
In our usual effort to prevent the loss of innocent life, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta advises the immediate evacuation of the the Government House annex Warri and its immediate surroundings up to the Delta state Brodcasting Corporation.

The time given for this evacuation before the detonation of the first bomb is thirty (30) minutes which will elapse by 1130 hrs Nigerian time. The primary school bordering the government house annex should be evacuated immediately!

The first bomb will be detonated at exactly 1130 hrs. We will thereafter advise on the other devices planted within and around the venue of the vanguard newspaper organised and Delta state sponsored conference. Organisers and participants at this jamboree will ignore this warning at their peril !!!

People must not remain in their cars and attempt to drive their cars and maintain safe distance from all cars and the area!

The deceit of endless dialogue and conferences will no longer be tolerated. The lands of the people of the Niger Delta was stolen by the oil companies and Northern Nigeria with the stroke of a pen.

The vanguard organized and delta state sponsored conference is one of such tools of deception. The Niger Delta has been partitioned into oil blocks which have been distributed amongst mostly Northerners while indegenes of the Niger Delta can barely survive. One such example being General T.Y. Danjuma.

It is common knowlede that no southerner can lay claim to an inch of land in the North so why should we continue to talk as the occupation of our land and theft of our reources by the oil companies and Northern Nigeria persists?

The governors of the Niger Delta are shameless and visionless stooges who are more concerned with looting their state treasuries and seeking a second term in office, even against the wishes of their people. MEND will attack any such gatherings designed to propagate more falsehood. Members of the public are hereby warned to avoid such gatherings as they may not be fortunate to have a warning before detonation.

In the coming days, we will carry out a number of attacks against installations and oil companies across the Niger Delta and will spread out to companies such as Total which have been spared in the past. We hope the actions which will follow will persuade Mr Uduaghan that we exist outside of cyberspace.

Investigation revealed that the explosives were planted in two cars and parked along the NPA express way, the route leading to the government house and very close to the venue of the conference. The first explosive went off almost targeted at the convoy of the arriving dignitaries, two cars that were passing shielded the convoy and took the hit killing the occupants and injuring a commercial motorcycle rider and his passenger. The second explosion which went off also affected another car and injuring four persons who incidentally were close to the spot of the incident. Though men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) were visibly absent at the venue of the event, however the men of the anti- terrorist squad who were present in every corner took to their heel on hearing the explosion but were to later come back to give protection to the dignitaries who were scampering for safety.

Event postponed?
In a press statement signed by the state information commissioner Mr. Oma Djebah, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan said he has ordered the evacuation of all participants at the conference to a safe place while the event has been postponed. He however said the state will not be deterred by this action and will continue to deliver the dividend of democracy to the people. According to him, “The people of the Niger delta will not be intimidated nor be deterred by the cowardly act of a few oppose to a peaceful and non violent approach of resolving the historic grievances of the region”.

MEND Denies Involvement:
A group of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has dissociated it self from the current violent act saying they are committed to peace. The group, believe to be loyal to Government Ekpemupolo, stated that they have no hand in the incident as they will continue to support peace in the region, but many feared that a splinter unit of MEND may be responsible for the explosions.

Claims of MEND Involvement:
It was revealed that a few hours after news was circulated from Jomo Gbomo of MEND, saying that they will make statements by 11 00hrs and at the timing, the two bombs went off around. The first bomb was said to have exploded on the other side of the road from where the Governors convoy was passing to bring it to the attention of the governors while the second bomb went off outside the venue so you can see that there is no intention to hurt people but possibly angry elements still complaining about the failure of the process of amnesty and I think those elements may need to be engaged.

Reactions and Condemnation:
Meanwhile, Governors, elders, leaders and stakeholders of the Niger-Delta, has condemned the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta, MEND, for detonating two bombs some 200 metres away from the Government House Annex, Warri, Delta State, venue of a two-day post amnesty dialogue by Vanguard Newspapers.

Chief Edwin Clark: "I was invited to the post-amnesty dialogue in Warri today (yesterday) and tomorrow (today) but because I have some other things I am doing in Abuja, I could not attend but I was watching the event live when the programme went off and I started calling to find out what happened." "It's shocking. This is the first time a very serious conference on the post-amnesty programme is being organized to proffer solutions on the way forward and it should be supported."

Ann'Kio Briggs: "I was in the hall when the explosion went off. I was driving by when the first explosion went off. But it really was not anything to pay too much attention to. It was may be 15 minutes later that a major explosion went off. And you could see, inside the government house the whole place was littered, the parts of the car that got blown into the government house.

"My reaction to the explosion shows very clearly that the Federal Government, the state governments that made up the Niger Delta, all of them have missed the point of the amnesty. Everybody has missed the point of the amnesty because if you say that you have offered amnesty and some thing like this happened, it shows very clearly that the amnesty has failed."

Ray Ekpu of Newswatch: "This is crazy. I can't understand because the conference was supposed to find a way out of the problem and deal with the post amnesty plans after they had surrendered their arms. And this sort of thing just happened. I don't understand. Who can please tell me what is the meaning of this? This conference was supposed to find a solution to the problem. I thought that militants would be happy to have these eminent people gathered here. Now the conference has been disrupted. It is amazing."

Chief Odigie Oyegun: "It shows that these people have no respect for the elders and leaders of the region. How can we be gathered for a programme and they are detonating bombs, according to them, to make a statement. What statement? Are they saying that Niger-Delta people cannot meet again?

"It's unfortunate that such a thing happened, those who did this are disgracing Niger-Delta and humiliating themselves because you cannot be fighting for the region and doing all these."

Senator Spanner Okpozo: "It's unfortunate that such incident took place when you had dignitaries lined up from all over the Niger-Delta. I was inside when the first one exploded and we felt it was just to herald the coming of the governors. But, when the second one exploded, it shook the foundation of the entire building and we saw smoke everywhere. It is obvious that those who do not want the progress of the Niger-Delta are behind this. They must have seen that we are going to make progress. This matter must be investigated because it is really bad."

Prof Pat Utomi: "My opinion is that the conference should not have ended. It should only have been suspended for an hour and every body should have come back. And a clean sweep of the neighbourhood would take place because if the object of whoever did it was to disrupt, then you have handed that person victory. But the person might have a different objective. It could be just the way some people had suggested, to make a statement to signal that look we can still talk.

"Importantly, what the whole thing signals to me, is the need for us to become more intensive or to do more in solving our problems? I am concerned about the future because everywhere you look at in Nigeria you see time bombs. If you look at Kano, five million kids not going to school, begging for alms.

"If you look at twenty years from now when they are adults, and when they will not be able to go to sleep, hungry without doing anything about it, you see a time bomb. Look at Jos, if you look at Jos you will see a time bomb. If you look at the Niger Delta region, you will see a time bomb.

"The interesting thing about these time bombs is that they are all foretold. As Mr. Sam Amuka was saying before the blast went off, the crisis of Niger Delta was foretold in the Willinks Commission report of 1958; it created what is happening now. We did nothing about it. Four years ago, I began passionately talking about the crisis of Jos, and it has come. Why is it that all the crisis were foretold and we allowed it to happen?"

Senator Owie: "It is sad that what Vanguard suffered to put in place for so long, some people came to disrupt it. This is an event that was well planned to ensure that this post amnesty programme of the Federal Government succeeds. This also calls for sober reflection as regards our security in this nation. An event like this, we expect security agencies to beef up security in that area but what it means is that we have no hiding place in this nation any more.

"For such a bomb to be planted at Government House annex where we expect that there will be security, means that the common Nigerian is no longer safe. The incident is very unfortunate and sad and those who perpetrated the act should know that we are all searching for the solution to our problem. They should not have done this at least for the interest of the people of the Niger Delta and Vanguard Newspapers."

Prof.Mrs. Okobia: "How cay you attack your own people. You don't attack your own people that have gathered to move the region forward. How can there be discussion here now."

Prof Peretemode: "I am so disappointed and disillusioned. We are all oppressed; an oppressed man can't come and kill an oppressed. We are here to discuss and find solution to problems in the area. They should allow it to take place. No development can take place in an atmosphere of chaos. They should allow us find solution to the problem"

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