By KINGSLEY OMONOBI
LAGOS — THE horror and devastation suicide bombers cause in distant lands usually seen on television were brought to Nigeria forcefully, yesterday morning, when a suicide bomber struck at the headquarters of the Nigeria police in Abuja.
At the end of the day an Assistant Superintendent of Police and seven others were ripped to pieces while the force of the deadly cargo tore through 40 vehicles and severely damaged others. It was the handiwork of Boko Haram sect who have exported their campaign from Borno and Niger States to the Federal Capital Territory.
Providence and gallantry
But for providence and the gallantry of late Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP Nangor Dantim, of the Police Traffic Warden Department, the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Abubakar Ringim; his security escorts, Personal Assistant, Musa Atiku and chief security officer, CSO, Adamu, would have been blown to pieces by a suicide bomber who attempted to blow up both the IGP and the Force headquarters.
Ringim had driven into the Force Headquarters at about 10.50 a.m with his escorts, unaware that another vehicle, an ash coloured Honda Civic salon car, with no number plate, indicating it might have been an official security vehicle was following his convoy.
At the gate of Force Headquarters, the security operatives thought it was part of IG’s convoy so they allowed the car access.
The driver of the car, a heavily built fellow, was said to have followed the IG’s convoy to his official car park at the Force Headquarters, stopped and made attempt to get out of the car. But ASP Dantim, the traffic officer in charge of IG’s car park, quickly rushed to the occupant of the Honda car. He prevented the suicide bomber from coming out and forced the fellow to move out the car to the general car park for visitors.
ASP Dantim then reportedly entered the passenger’s side of the car.
Vanguard gathered that the bomb went off when they got to the general car park about 10 minutes later and the police officer was interrogating the fellow. It blew up both Dantim and the occupant of the Honda Civic car to pieces. Aside from the bodies of the suicide bomber and ASP Dantim, the charred and scattered remains of persons unknown, also littered the car park.
About 40 vehicles were immediately set ablaze while another set of 50 vehicles within the vicinity of the Force Headquarters had their windows, headlights or rear lights destroyed or shattered.
As a result of the fire that raged through the vehicles parked at the general car park, seven other persons, some of them drivers of vehicles waiting for their principals who had come to Force Headquarters, were said to have been burnt inside their vehicles.
The entire seven-storey building of Louis Edet House felt the impact of the bomb blast, as electronic gadgets like TV sets, refrigerators and office file cabinets were sent flying from end to end, even up to the seventh floor.
One officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said he thought it was an earthquake.
He said: “If you imagine what it took Julius Berger to put this Force Headquarters in place and you saw the manner this edifice was shaking from the impact of the bomb blast, you will understand what I am talking about.”
Eye witness account
Meanwhile, eye witnesses said there was confusion in Abuja, yesterday, following the bomb attack.
Red Cross emergency coordinator, Umar Abdul Mairiga told AFP that at least five persons were admitted to hospital for wounds from the explosion and two treated at the scene, adding:
“Our volunteers were able to pick up pieces of human remains. These have been sent for examination by police forensic experts.”
Abdul Mahmud who was at a nearby office complex, said: “It was confusion everywhere. People were running helter skelter.”
Senate President reacts
Senate President David Mark said security forces had to “rise up to the challenge” and “look inwards” to end the spate of wave of attacks.
Police recovers remains of suicide bomber
THE Police said the remains of the suicide bomber has been recovered for forensic laboratory analysis by experts, even as it accused Boko Haram sect of responsibility for the attack .
The Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Olusola Amore said: “Definitely, we are suspecting a group that goes by the name Boko Haram that has been issuing threats upon threats and for which the police is rising up to the challenge.”
Amore who noted that the remains of the suicide bomber has been recovered by Police forensic experts for laboratory analysis said that full investigations has commenced.
Speaking on the bomb blast that rocked the Police headquarters, Amore said: “You are all aware of what happened this morning concerning the bomb blast. The Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim has expressed displeasure over the suicide bomb attack.
“The unfortunate incident led to the death of the suicide bomber and a Police traffic warden. The incident occurred at about 11.00 a.m when the suicide bomber was intercepted and directed to the general car park for searching and checking.
“The traffic warden who entered the vehicle of the suicide bomber to direct him to the car park was blown up along with the suicide bomber as soon as they got to the car park.
“The IGP wishes to appreciate efforts of fire servicemen, NEMA, the armed forces fire service, the Civil Defence Corps. Members of the public are assured that the criminal elements responsible for the dastardly act will be fished out.”