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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid