By Samuel Oyadongha
TYENAGOAâ€”A powerful explosion rocked Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, Sunday night, causing fresh panic among residents.
The explosion occurred some 500 metres away from a guest house.
A salon car believed to have been loaded with deadly explosives was badly damaged leaving only the rear plate number untouched.
The usually busy INEC Road in the Yenagoa suburb was deserted as the deafening explosion reverberated through the capital city.
Though no life was lost in the blast which occurred at a mechanic workshop along the INEC road, a green coloured Mazda 626 with plate number Rivers AH 394 DBU was damaged beyond repair.
The blast which happened at 9.05pm when artisans at the mechanic workshop had closed for the day averted what could have been a catastrophe, given its impact.
Virtually all the restaurants and relaxation spots in the vicinity were forced to close shop as customers and residents scampered for safety.
A police patrol team that rushed to the scene was still on guard, yesterday, when Vanguard visited the area.
Members of the anti-bomb disposal squad who were later deployed, were sighted frisking the area with their bomb detecting machines with a view to ascertaining the type of explosive that was detonated.
Reacting to the blast, the state government, yesterday, said it had uncovered plans by some politicians opposed to the Timipre Sylva administration to unleash mayhem in the state.
Call for security consciousness
While urging Bayelsans to be security conscious, the government said through the Overseer of the state Ministry of Information, Chief Nathan Egba: â€œWhile we await the outcome of the police investigation into the explosive device that was detonated last night (Monday) at the mechanic workshop, we are calling on all Bayelsans to be extra-vigilant and report all suspicious activities to security agencies as government has received reports that some politicians opposed to the Sylva administration have perfected plans to cause havoc in the state.â€
He said the command had requested for ballistic experts from neighbouring Rivers State to help in uncoverÂ the type of explosives used in carrying out the blast.
Udeka, who expressed concern over the incident, said: â€œWe are not fighting a war. Everybody should be careful. Whoever is behind the incident will be dealt with accordingly no matter how highly placed.â€
He, however, called on Bayelsans to go about their normal business saying the command was on top of the situation.
Police cordon off hotel premises
Meantime, the bomb blast incident took a new twist, yesterday, as the police cordoned off Latik Hotel,Â where they reportedly discovered a Mercedes Benz 190 planted with explosives.
An eye witness, Alex Apiama, told Vanguard that the car, with Imo State number plateÂ AG 198 TTK, was driven into the hotel parking lot between 10 and 11.00 a.m. by two unidentified persons.
It could not, however, be ascertained how the car allegedly loaded with the explosives beat the security check point mounted on both extremes of the INEC road by men of the Nigerian police.
But Vanguard learnt that when the police stormed the premises they went straight to the parked car where the explosives were discovered.
When Vanguard visited the scene, six police patrol vehicles were sighted in front of the hotel while men of the Nigeria Drug and Law Enforcement Agency, armed soldiers, officers of the anti bombs were deployed at strategic points.
Speaking to newsmen at the hotel premises during the search, the Deputy Governor, Mr. Peremobowei Ebebi condemned the incident where a bomb could be planted in a car at the hotel.
He, however, said that Governor Timipre Sylva, his Special Adviser on Security, Chief Richard Kpodo and the Commissioner of Police, Elder Onuoha Udeka, should tell Bayelsans and Nigerians at large how they got the information that a car planted with a bomb was in the hotel premises.
The deputy governor said he was aware of plans long before now that the governor and his aides have been planning to set him up.