By DANIEL IDONOR
BARELY 24 hours after terrorists bombed the United Nations, UN, building in Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday paid an on-the-spot assessment visit to the scene of the blast, where he was conducted round by the National Security Adviser, General Owoye Azaazi (rtd).
Jonathan, who was saddened by the devastation, after seeing the extent of damage, assured Nigerians and the international community that Nigeria is on top of the situation, to uncover those behind the spate of terrorism in the country.
He vowed that Nigeria will continue to collaborate with the international community on the war against terrorism, and expressed Nigeria’s appreciation to her friends and allies, especially world leaders for their solidarity with the country in these trying moments.
”One thing is very clear: Terrorist attack on any individual or any group is a terrorist attack to the rest of the world, it is not just about the UN office in Nigeria. We will work with the UN and all the world leaders; of course, many of them have contacted me between yesterday and today”, he said.
Asked if the attack has adverse effect on the image of Nigeria, the president said, “Of course, wherever you have terrorist attack in any country, Nigeria is not an isolated case. Many countries have suffered from terrorists attacks, may be it is the turn of Nigeria. But we are on top of the situation”.
Meanwhile, reactions to the bombing within and outside the country have been one of shock. Among those who reacted yesterday were the US secretary of state, Mrs. Hilary Clinton; Senate President David Mark, the Nigeria Governors Forum, and Governors Rauf Aregbesola and Kayode Fayemi.
Blast unjustifiable — Clinton
According to Clinton, there is no justification for the attack. “These individuals were working to promote peace, expand opportunity and build a safer and more prosperous nation. The United Nations has been working side by side with Nigeria for more than five decades and the United States strongly supports its efforts. Vicious terrorist attacks such as these only strengthen our resolve and commitment to the work of the United Nations and the people of Nigeria”, she said in a statement.
Suicide bombing alien to Nigeria—Mark
Mark said that cases of suicide bombing is alien to the Nigerian culture
He condemned the bombing and called on those behind the savage act to have a rethink of their actions and toe the path of peace.
According to the Senate President, “the Federal Government has expressed consistent readiness to redress all contending national issues and those behind this barbaric act should accept dialogue and join in the onerous task of maintaining peace in the nation.’’
Govs Forum: Bombing is attack on Nigeria
The 36 state governors under the aegis, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, condemned the blast
In a statement by the Forum’s Director-General, Asishana Okauru, the NGF said it was an unforgivable crime against humanity.
According to the statement, ‘’Chairman of the Forum and Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said it was disheartening, senseless and inhuman for anyone to bomb a complex where work and effort to make the world better are constantly going on.
“The idea of any group unleashing violence on fellow human beings because of certain imperfections does not augur well, not only for the well-being of the immediate location and victims but also for the entire nation.” Amaechi, who described the explosion as an attack on Nigeria and the global community, however, urged the security agencies to do everything possible to track down this seemingly organised network of wicked criminals and bring them
Everybody now vulnerable—Aregbesola
Aregbesola said the blast indicated that security situation in the country has degenerated to the extent that everybody is now vulnerable. A statement quoted the Sun state governor as condemning the dastardly act and urged the Federal Government to take urgent and decisive steps to protect lives and property of citizens, as well as that of foreigners. He described the bombing of the UN office as a national disgrace, capable of discouraging foreign investments, at a time when there should be an aggressive plan to revive the economy.
Aregbesola explained that the underlying cause of these increasing trends of anarchy can only be traced to the failure of governance in the country, and corruption in all sectors of the economy. He therefore advised that government at all levels should ensure delivery of service to the populace and gainfully employ idle youths, so that no employable persons can be lured into violence.
He reiterated his call for justice among the citizenry as he argued that injustice and inequality had been at the root of the growing cases of insurgency in the country.
Attack, a negative signpost — Fayemi
Fayemi described the attack as a negative signpost for Nigeria, which should necessitate a more serious approach. He enjoined the leadership of the country not to view the dastardly act and the growing spate of violence in the country as purely a local issue.
Fayemi, who had earlier commiserated with the leadership and staff members of the UN in the country, through a message to the UN Resident Coordinator, Dr Daoda Traore and the UNDP Director, Ms Ade Mamonyane- Lekoetje, said in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Yinka Oyebode, that Nigeria needs a more strategic rather than an ad hoc reaction to the development.
He said the country needs to prioritize intelligence gathering, processing and utilization in security operations, adding that external forces could not be ruled out of the development in spite of claims by a local group, Boko Haram.
According to Fayemi, “Nigeria needs a strategic, rather than an ad hoc reaction to this. We ‘d be chasing shadows if this is seen purely from a local angle. Boko Haram is just a label for something more insidious.”
Lawmakers to tackle terror – Ekweremadu
DEPUTY Senate President Ike Ekweremadu described the bombing as very unfortunate and highly condemnable.
Ekweremadu, who is the Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, also condoled with the United Nations, President Jonathan and Nigerias over the ugly incident.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media, Uche Arichukwu, he said: “This is a worrisome development that does not help our renewed vigour and quest for transformation and development as a nation. As a responsive and responsible lawmaking institution, the National Assembly of Nigeria is ready and already working with the Federal Government of Nigeria and security agencies to stem the security challenges and to restore lasting peace in the country.”
It is assault on world peace – CAN
UMBRELLA body of Christians in Nigeria, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, condemned bomb attack on the UN building in Abuja, describing it as an unwarranted and mindless assault on world peace and unity.
In a statement, the CAN National President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor said the perpetrators of the blast are enemies of our corporate entity and have no value for human life, arguing: “it is unthinkable that a group of persons by whatever name will deliberately set out to unleash terror and mayhem on other innocent and law abiding persons in some parts of the country without restraint.”
According to him, CAN will like to call on the Federal Government of Nigeria and all the security agencies to do everything within its powers to safeguard the lives and properties of law-abiding citizens and foreigners alike.
He said the latest attack has exposed the inadequacies in the nation’s security apparatus, saying the time has come for the president to overhaul the nation’s security system with a view to tackling the growing trend of terrorism in the country.
Blast is mystery — PDP
THE national leadership of the Peoples Democratic People, PDP, said it has still remained a mystery to Nigerians as to why those involved in these incessant bombings engage in these most unfortunate acts that have led to loss of lives and leaving others wounded.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Professor Rufai Alkali, the party however expressed its total shock and complete bewilderment over what it termed yet another act of terror unleashed on the United Nations office building in Abuja.
According to the statement, ‘’the suicide bombing which led to the death of several innocent people is another mindless carnage perpetrated by persons who’s motives and cause remains a mystery to Nigerians.
’’The Acting National Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, on behalf of all members of the PDP joins all well meaning Nigerians and other citizens of the world in expressing his deep sadness over this carnage on a premises that symbolizes world peace and global cooperation.”
It’s a wake up call — IBB
FORMER Military President Ibrahim Babangida said the bombing was a wake up to Nigerians, just as he stressed that there was the urgent need for government to be supported in the provision of information.
According to him, the task of maintaining peace and providing a conducive atmosphere for national unity cannot be done by government alone and, for national unity, all hands must be on deck.
In a statement yesterday by his spokesperson, Prince Kassim Afegbua, Babangida called for more vigillance among Nigerians and the need to find lasting solution to the reccurent cases of bomb blast in the country.
’’I have been at a crossroads since Friday when I heard this ugly incident of the UN Building bomb blast. This ugly event happening at a time when government is trying to find lasting solutions to the problem of insecurity, puts a greater responsibility on all of us as a people to be more vigilant, circumspect and helpful in trying to find permanent solution to this challenge. It still beats me hollow that anyone could attempt to cause pain to the other person just to make a statement.
’’This is more than a wake up call to all of us. We must be ready to assist government in whatever ways to provide information that would be helpful to continue to promote an atmosphere of peace and security. Government alone cannot do it, it is a responsibility that the present challenge has thrust on us in the interest of national unity and global peace and security.
’’I wish to condole with the United Nations family and the government and people of Nigeria over this sad incident. I wish to condole with the families of those who lost their dear ones and wish those who sustained several degrees of injuries, soonest recovery.
’’I wish to call on well meaning and good spirited individuals to please hearken to the call for blood donation to help those who are still undergoing treatment in the hospitals.”