By Jimitota Onoyume
Shock , surprise , madness were some of the adjectives used to describe the action of those that detonated dynamitesÂ to disrupt the opening of Vanguardâ€™s Post amnesty dialogueÂ at the Government House, Annex inÂ Warri today.
The first dynamite exploded at about 11.05, this was minutes before Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta state drove into the premises of the event. The coincidence caused many to think that the explosion was probably a canon shot fired to herald the coming of the governor who led other dignitaries like governors Adams Oshiomole of Edo state, Ikedi Ohakim of Imo state, the Minister of Niger Delta, Chief Ufot Ekaette and several others.
The next explosion which was allegedly detonated from a car parked about one hundred andÂ fifty metres from the venue of the hall where the event was holding came up when the Publisher of Vanguard, Mr. Sam Amuka was giving his address, and this was at about some minutes to twelve. This second explosion immediately sent everybody scampering for safety. It shattered some glasses in the hall and doors leading to some other halls within the Government House Annex.
Meanwhile, most of the participants who spoke to the Vanguard wondered why any sane mind would disrupt an event put together to move the region forward.
Former governor of Edo state, His Excellency, Chief John Odigie Oyegun said : â€œI am just surprised. It is most, most unfortunate that this kind of thing could happen. We should not rush to blame any group. This country is so confused now that a lot of things can happen. Really, truly, we are here for a well thought out and good intentionÂ programme put together for the good of the region. It is obvious that somebody somewhere does not want peace consolidated, does not wish this country well, otherwise this kind of thing should not happenâ€.
â€œThis is crazy. I canâ€™t understand because the conference was supposed to find a way out of the problem and deal with the post amnesty plans after they had surrendered their arms. And these sort of things just happened. I donâ€™t understand. Who can please tell me what is the meaning of this? This conference was supposed to find a solution to the problem. I thought that militants would be happy to have these eminent people gathered here. Now the conference has been disrupted. It is amazingâ€.
Senator Stella Omu, former Chief Whip of the Senate and now member of the PDP Board of Trustees
â€œItâ€™s a shame. In a country where we have security agents, a thing like this is happening without being checked. I want to appeal to all Niger Deltans to ensure the region is developed. ”
Chief Hope Harriman
â€œIt is sad that we are trying to move forward yet somebody tried to disrupt it. I wonder who would do this. We are becoming another Iraq.â€
â€œWe heard the bombs, the windows scattering, I think this is ridiculous and shameful.â€
Chief Solomon Edibiri, a frontline governorship candidate in the last election in Edo state
â€œIt was a blatant shock, multidimensional shock in the sense that this was a programme put together by a man who believes in the Niger Delta course, a man who believes that the post amnesty programme should move faster. The enemies of progress came to disrupt the programme. How can the region move forward? This call for a quick review of the amnesty program. Government should move with speed to fast track the post amnesty programme. We are still living in fear of government sincerity. Government needs to restore hope, confidence in the people. If the youths are properly engaged. No youth will have time to plant bomb. You are aware the bomb blew up from a vehicle. It shows that it was a high powered thing.
Government should act fast to make people see its programme for the region. This bomb to my mind is like a wake up call.
President Ijaw National Congress, (INC) Dr Atuboyedia Obianimi, â€œIt is unfortunate. I donâ€™t know who would have done this. To the best of my knowledge and as a lover of humanity, what happened was wrong, unacceptable that anybody will plant bomb to take lives. We should be quick to find out the motive for the disruption. Ijaw National Congress condemns the action. But for God, lots of lives would have been lost. INC condemns the development.Â This is not good for our region. The organizers and the government should look into details to find out why this occurred. We should look at his matter because it is at the heart of security and confidence buildingâ€
Professor Mrs. Otete Okobia
â€œHow cay you attack your own people. You donâ€™t attack your own people that have gathered to move the region forward. How can there be discussion here now.â€
Prof Victor Peretemode, former Delta Commissioner on the Board of the NDDC
â€œI am so disappointed and disillusioned. We are all oppressed; an oppressed man canâ€™t come and kill an oppressed. We are here to discuss and find solution to problems in the area. They should allow it to take place. No development can take place in an atmosphere of chaos. They should allow us find solution to the problemâ€
Bishop God Do Well Avwomakpa
â€œI will say this is one of the greatest mistakes that have ever been made. Probably enemies of Niger Delta did this thing. I will say whoever did this God should interveneâ€
Meanwhile, earlier in his address, Chairman of the event, General Andrew Owoye Azazi (rtd) warned that the Niger Delta situation was like a litmus test. According to him, the way issues in the region would be resolved would tell how the nation would resolve its own problems.Â Lamenting challenges in the region, he saidÂ before now the regionÂ was the most peaceful part of the country, â€œthis was the most peaceful part of Nigeria several years ago, and today we are here to discuss peace in the region.â€, he said. Adding he called on Niger Deltans and Nigerians at large to use what he termed their â€œcombine wisdom to manage the post amnesty situation in the region. Let us try to achieve a high lot of successâ€, he pleaded.
Meanwhile, Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) in an online statement allegedly issued before the explosions, claimed responsibility for them.