They are to remain with the nation’s security investigators for a further two weeks facing questioning, in an investigation which has stirred up tensions ahead of presidential elections coming up next year.
The Security Service (SSS) has won a court order allowing it to hold on to the four suspects: “The four suspects should be remanded in the custody of the State Security Service for two weeks for further investigation,” chief Magistrate Oyeyeola Oyewumi told a court in Abuja.
The bombs have brought regional rivalries in the nation as the country moves towards a crucial election next year.
The Abuja bombs were claimed by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the main rebel group in Jonathan’s southern home region but the government of Jonathan Goodluck claimed the bombers were hiding under MEND claiming the explosion was the handiwork of elements in the country conniving with some outside forces.
MEND’s claim was an embarrassment to Jonathan, who helped broker an amnesty in the oil-producing region last year. He said the blasts had nothing to do with the Niger Delta and MEND’s name had been used as a cover, infuriating northern rivals.
But there have been confirmations from the International communities that secret reports had revealed that bombing attacks were being planned, which may have laid credibility to President Jonathan claim that the bombing had nothing to do with MEND.
“There are facts that the president was hiding certain informations which had been supplied by the International community and the circumstances of Babangida’s camp’s massaging of the MEND exoneration by the president leaves much to be suspected about the camp”an observer said in London at the weekend.
However, the overreaction from Babangida’s campaign camp and the claims by northern elements that The President should resign or face impeachment, described as overplaying the response leaves much to be desired as many question why a simple claim of exonerating of MEND had warranted fierce reaction, such that calls to question as to whether the camp was hasting it’s responses to wad of suspicion and cover up some known issues relating to the bombings..
Representatives from Queen Elizabeth of England were absent from the celebration, following undercover reports of impending bombing on the Independence celebration day, while a key note address by British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown was put off as the former PM stayed away.
“There are indications that President Jonathan may know what many of us did not know as his reason to exonerate MEND may have to do with supplied facts, having been confirmed by international quarters that bombing was going to take place and of impending dangers days before the celebration”, the observer claimed further in London.
The detention of Raymond Dokpesi, Babangida’s campaign camp Director General also has raised further questions and there had been indications that the bombers text messages were traced to his personal phone.
Henry Okah, a senior MEND figure now living in South Africa, was charged there on Monday with conspiracy to commit a terrorist act and the detonation of explosive devices in Abuja. His lawyer has denied his involvement. The Arab TV channel Aljazeera granted Okah an interview after his arrest and detention stirring up more tension with his claim that he had been told to retract the MEND statement that it planted the bombs.
The secret service declined to comment on whether the four suspects being held in Nigeria were Okah’s associates.
“Investigations continue. We can’t give you their names now because we don’t want other suspects who are not in our net to run,” an SSS official said, asking not to be named said.
Next few days may be crucial in the government investigation, as the government has been accused of humiliating opposition through certain arrests made in the aftermath of the bombing.
” As a group finding the name of it’s leading member creeping into a criminal act, Babangida’s campaign group has every reason to overreact and the reation has lest more questions as to whether it was sincere in it’s reactions.
“Babangida’s camps and other eminent northerners overreacted to convince the world they were victims of opposition humiliation, but what really agitates the minds of millions across the world is whether the presidency knows what many does not know regarding the Abuja bombing. There had been reports of huge amount of money traced to the account of a top political figure with text messages appearing that connects from the bombing suspects.