News / Africa

Bombing Remarks Misunderstood, Nigerian President Says

Johnathan Goodluck (file photo)
Johnathan Goodluck (file photo)

As investigations into Nigeria's Independence Day (October 1) bombings continue, President Goodluck Jonathan appears to be backing off his earlier assertion that the violence was not related to the problems of the oil-rich but underdeveloped Niger Delta.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta immediately claimed responsibility for the Independence Day blasts in the capital.

But President Jonathan says the attack was the work of a small group of terrorists, based outside the country, who were funded by unpatriotic elements within the country.  President Jonathan is from the Niger Delta, so the speed with which he absolved the militant group known as MEND brought criticism from northern politicians that the president did not understand the security threat and should resign.

In a meeting with Northern political leaders Monday, President Jonathan sought to clarify his remarks, saying the "sin" that he committed was asking Nigerians not to automatically assume that car bombs in Edo State or Bayelsa State or Port Harcourt and now in Abuja are the work of MEND or are somehow related to the problems of the Niger Delta.

"Whether you are a member of MEND or not, don't use MEND. My position was not saying that a member of MEND or from the Niger Delta is not an issue," he said. "But don't cover it up using MEND or Niger Delta.  That is what I said."

This is what the president said on a visit to Abuja's main hospital the day after the bombing.

"Let me also use this opportunity to reassure Nigerians that what happened yesterday had nothing, and I have to repeat, had nothing to do with the Niger Delta," he reiterated.   "People just use the name of MEND to camouflage criminality and terrorism."

Dalhatu Sarki Tafida directs Mr. Jonathan's presidential campaign.

"He did not say MEND is not part of this particular scenario.  He only said they are not the only ones," Tafida noted.  "He said there will be deeper investigations.  And, deeper investigations are going on."

President Jonathan says he has decided to refrain from further comment on the bomb blasts to allow security agencies to do their work.

Nigeria's State Security Service says its main suspect is the former MEND arms dealer Henry Okah, who is under arrest in South Africa.

In a telephone interview with the Al-Jazeera television network, Okah says a close aide of President Jonathan called him after the bombing and asked him to have MEND retract its claim of responsibility.  Okah says the aide wanted to blame the attack on Northerners who are challenging President Jonathan's election campaign.  Okah says, when he refused, he was arrested by South African authorities.

Presidential spokesman Ima Niboro says that is an outright lie.  In a written statement, Niboro challenges Okah to name the Jonathan aide who called him.  Niboro says Okah should face the charges against him in South Africa and stop making what he calls "frivolous claims."

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid