Abuja Police HQ bombing: Nigeria Police Force in credibility puzzle over the real truth?

LONDON: 21/06/2011
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Nigeria Police Inspector General Abubakar Ringim… to brief the Press

The Nigerian Police Force is currently in the dock following their discredit over the recent bombing of Louis Edet House ,the Nigerian Police Headquarters in Abuja,where about six people lost their life.

The first round of investigation into the bombings has revealed that the 16/6 carnage was actually unleashed by a timed bomb which now runs contrary to the Nigeria Police earlier claim that the Police HQ bombing was the handiwork of a suicide bomber.

The collated evidence as revealed by CCTV evidence shows that the explosive was a timed bomb which may have exploded before reaching its destination or deposit point within the Police Headquarters vicinity.

The new prove has seriously dented the image and credibility of the Force while the public may not know the truth until a comprehensive report had been given by the police.

“What had been claimed before regarding the bomb blast is far from the truth  as the world watched and continue to base all analysis on suicide bombing as there had never been such experience in Nigeria”, said a source.

A team of investigators from United States of America  Federal Bureau of Investigation arrived the country carrying out some investigations and scanning of the area to collate some evidence.

According to security sources: “The possibility of suicide bombing was too remote for the police to reach such a conclusion.

The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr. Olusola Amore, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DC),  told the media hours after the attack last Thursday that it was carried out by a suicide bomber.

Events as revealed at the weekend has proved otherwise as CCTV revealed that the bomb had exploded from a different side far from the assumed carrier who was said to have picked up a security man dissuading the driver from following the Inspector General’s convoy.

“After viewing the footage, we could not reach the same conclusion,” a security source told THISDAY Sunday night. “At best, we could say the bomb was timed and it exploded before the carrier could drop it at its target.”

Reconstructing the scene, the source said: “It appeared the car bearing the bomb took off from the nearby Police Officers Wives Association Nursery School.

The children were having an event there. If the bomb had gone off in the midst of hundreds of innocent school children, it would have been a major national tragedy.

“Next, the convoy of the Inspector General of Police passed. The car followed them closely as they entered the compound. As the driver made to follow the IG all the way, a police officer stopped him and redirected him to the right side to park.

“It was while the car was going to the right, with the police officer following him obviously to question him on why he was following the IG so closely, that the bomb went off. The car was in motion. It had not parked. It is therefore difficult to conclude that this is a case of suicide bombing.”

The source said there are two strong possibilities: one, the bomb was timed; two, the bomb was detonated by remote control.

Abuja Police bombing

He continued: “If you believe the bomb was timed, it means that the bombers wanted to make sure the IG was in the building before dropping it. That may explain why they followed his convoy. It is also possible that the moment the car was diverted, the bombers ran out of time and could not defuse the device. That could explain why it went off while the bombers were still inside the car.

“However, it is also possible that the bomb was set off by remote control. The person with the control could have been inside the compound or nearby, monitoring the movements. He could be a police officer who is sympathetic to the cause of Boko Haram.

“It is possible that when he saw that the car had been diverted and an officer was about to question the driver for intruding, he quickly set the bomb off. That way, the evidence would be destroyed completely. Nobody would be arrested and no questions would be asked.”

The source said if it was actually a suicide attack, the driver would have rammed the vehicle into the convoy of the IG and caused maximum impact.

“The tremor caused by the explosion suggests that it was a high calibre device. It could have brought down the force headquarters building. If the driver had rammed the vehicle into the convoy, all the occupants could have died. At the end of it all, 30 cars were damaged beyond repairs, while 43 other vehicles were also burnt. It was not an ordinary bomb,” the source said.

It is also being suspected that there were at least two occupants in the car when the device exploded.

Another security source told THISDAY that beyond the claim of Boko Haram that it carried out the attack, there is suspicion that some politicians are behind the ongoing bombing campaign.

“Before the April elections, some people promised to make Nigeria ungovernable. The threat was real. We are not ruling out the possibility that there is a political motive to this. Some politicians might have recruited some Boko Haram members to carry out their threat of making Nigeria ungovernable,” he said.

There have been a series of bombings since after the elections, notably on the day President Goodluck Jonathan was inaugurated when explosions rocked Zuba in the Federal Capital Territory and Zaria in Kaduna State.

In Kano Sunday, soldiers from Janguza Army Barracks were deployed along Kano to Gwarzo to Funtua road. Anti-riot policemen also conducted stop-and-search on vehicles.

THISDAY investigation in Kano revealed that policemen were deployed in Gwarzo, Danbatta/Bichi, Wudil and Zaria roads, while other policemen were on surveillance in all the nooks and crannies of the state.

Efforts to contact the state Police Commissioner Tambari Yabo Mohammed were abortive.

Also, the Ekiti police command has beefed up security across the state to forestall possible bombing.

The command has also ordered the immediate removal of faulty vehicles parked indiscriminately along the main road in Ado Ekiti, as a precautionary measure.

The command’s Police Public Relations Office (PPRO), Mr Mohammed Jimoh, who gave the order in Ado-Ekiti at the weekend, said all these measures became imperative  to guard against any form of bomb explosion in the state.

Anti-riot policemen were stationed at various junctions with at least one Hilux Van placed on red alart.

They were also seen guarding some public buildings and institutions within Ado-Ekiti metropolis.

On the order to remove all rickety vehicles, the ASP, who spoke on behalf of the state commissioner of police, Mr Olayinka Balogun, pointed out such vehicles had served as avenue for terrorists to launch attack and wreak havoc on the people in the orgy of bombings being witnessed across the country.

He advised owners of the vehicles to remove them to their private yards.

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Sunday warned against use of force against Boko Haram.

The party said the authorities should urgently engage those behind the violence in dialogue, rather than place emphasis on the use of force.

In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also urged President Jonathan to take the lead in engaging the Boko Haram sect, just like the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua took charge of the amnesty programme for the Niger Delta militants, instead of leaving it to the Borno state governor.

It also advised the police to talk less and show more tact in dealing with the issue, saying it took only days after the Inspector-General of Police Hafiz Ringim boasted, that the days of the sect are numbered, for the sect to take the battle to the IGP’s doorsteps.

Nigeria Police beret cap

The party urged the government not to be discouraged by the near impossible conditions for dialogue that have been reeled out by Boko Haram sect, saying dialogue will pay off in the end if those involved can stay the course and surmount the obstacles.

”Our stand is based on the fact that Boko Haram is a product of politics gone awry, as the former Borno state governor allegedly used the sect to further his political career only to dump it unceremoniously. The cold-blooded killing of its leader by the police was the last straw. This is just like how some governors in the Niger Delta allegedly helped to create the monster of militancy by arming youths for political ends. Thankfully, that militancy has now been largely curtailed through a political solution,” ACN said.

The party said Boko Haram has now evolved into a monster because of the dangerous mix of politics, religion, economy and international terrorism.

”Because of this dangerous mix, this monster cannot be subdued by force. If it were so easy, there would have been no dialogue with the IRA after years of military campaign against it. In any case, Nigeria currently lacks the capacity to use force to crush the Boko Haram sect. How many car parks, hotels or eateries and drinking joints can the police man?

However, the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, will  address a press conference on the progress of police  investigations so far into the  bombing, the deputy force public relations officer, Yemi Ajayi assured  in a telephone interview yesterday.

Mr Ajayi, however, refused to comment on how far the police had gone with the investigations. “The findings will be released” he added.

Asked to confirm if the police really discovered a Boko Haram hideout on Sunday in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital on Sunday as earlier claimed, Mr Ajayi said, “I don’t have anything to say now. Nothing to say.

Addition: THISDAY