A big dent was put into Nigeria’s 50th celebration as explosives went off in the Bayelsa house in Abuja. The area is about 10 minutes away from the Eagles Square venue of the Nigeria at 50 celebration. There are unconfirmed reports of some deaths in the incident.
Police have deployed a bomb squad to investigate the explosion while fire service officials now visibly patrol the area.
The Niger Delta militant group, MEND, had sent an email message to media houses warning of its plan to disrupt the festivities. It is however unclear whether the group has anything to do with this explosion, as no group has claimed responsibility.
“With due respect to all invited guests, dignitaries and attendees of the 50th independence anniversary of Nigeria being held today, Friday, October 1, 2010 at the Eagle Square Abuja, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is asking everyone to begin immediate evacuation of the entire area within the next 30 minutes. This warning expires after 10.30Hrs,” the MEND statement said.
“Several explosive devices have been successfully planted in and around the venue by our operatives working inside the government security services. In evacuating the area, keep a safe distance from vehicles and trash bins.”
The explosions have also not affected the national celebrations, as the celebrations at the packed Eagles Square goes on apace.
Police Force PRO, Emmanuel Ojukwu, has confirmed that there are 8 dead and 5 injured. All have been taken to Asokoro and Maitama general hospital. The explosions happened at Bayelsa state house in Central Area.