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Nigeria Police Re-assessing Security for Vice President-Elect


Police in southern Nigeria say gunmen have destroyed the country home of Vice President-elect Goodluck Jonathan. The attack occurred in Bayelsa state, where Jonathan is currently governor. Investigators say the attackers approached by speedboat and hurled dynamite at the house early Wednesday. Jonathan was not there at the time. Assailants also destroyed a police station near Jonathan's home, killing at least one officer.

Haz Iwendi is commissioner and first public relations officer for the Nigeria national police. He told VOA the police are re-assessing their strategy for protecting the vice president-elect and other senior government officials.

“We are assessing the strategy and the level of security to be provided for the vice president-elect, and we will do that not only for him but also for other senior public office holders,” he said.

Iwendi would not say whether the attack was motivated by the dispute surrounding last month’s presidential and local government elections. But he said the government is concerned.

“I won’t say, but we are worried that a development like this we cannot tie it entirely to the election because we have been having occurrences in the past before election. So we cannot conclude that it was tied to the election or the outcome of the election,” Iwendi said.

Bayelsa State is part of Nigeria’s volatile Niger Delta region where militants have been launching attacks against oil facilities. Iwendi said the attack on the vice president-elect’s house might have been carried out by what he called individuals with economic grievances.

Iwendi said the government-elect is expected to follow in the footsteps of the outgoing Olusegun Obasanjo government in trying to resolve the grievances in the Niger Delta region.

“Even the outgoing government has been holding public consultative meetings with various stakeholders in the Niger Delta, public meetings which were televised live on national television, and a lot of resolutions were made, a lot of committees were set up, and lot of rapprochement was initiated by the outgoing president. So I think the issues are being addressed, and I believe more of these issues will be addressed when the new government takes over,” Iwende said.

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