2 October 2010

Nigeria: The Abuja Bomb Blast

Photo: Abayomi Adeshida/Vanguard
The scene of a bomb blast during the 50th Independence Anniversary around the Millenium Park, Abuja.


The grand finale of the celebrations marking the golden jubilee anniversary of the nation in Abuja last Friday was virtually marred by the senseless bomb blasts that claimed the innocent lives of some Nigerians and left many wounded.

This terrorist act ironically occurred about the same time as President Goodluck Jonathan was expressing optimism about the future of the nation in his address to the huge crowd of Nigerians and foreigners gathered at the Eagle Square, venue of the celebration.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) is reported to have claimed responsibility for the callous act. Their ostensible reason is that " for 50 years the people of Niger Delta have had their land and resources stolen from them" and that "there is nothing worth celebrating." We wonder how killing innocent Nigerians will change the situation for the better.

Violence, as we have always stated on this page, is the weapon of the cowardly. However noble the cause may be, realising it through the needless shedding of innocent blood can only vitiate that nobility. We do not see what grievance cannot be settled through dialogue. Those who may be aggrieved with the society and its leaders must understand that by resorting to violence and mass murder they lose the right to be given audience. For anyone or group to deny others the right to life on a day that freedom was being celebrated in the country is a rather absurd irony.

The Abuja fatal bomb blasts raise the question of security in the nation's capital city. The statement by MEND indicating that it was going to place bombs around the venue of the celebrations was obviously treated with levity by the security agencies. The scene of the blasts is close to the Federal Ministry of Justice-not altogether far from the Eagle Square. We figure that the perpetrators of the dastardly act must have reasoned that such a place was likely to be under less surveillance by the security agents. The lesson then is that nothing must be left to chance during mega celebrations like the one that the nation has just had, especially in view of the mischievous alert by the MEND.

Clearly those who perpetrated the bomb blasts do not in any way mean well for the nation. It must have been their intention to not only disrupt the celebrations but also to throw the country into serious mourning and dampen her spirit by killing so many people. But if they thought that by killing innocent Nigerians they could put on hold the golden jubilee celebrations, they must have been disappointed. A nation is invariably greater than the churlish desires of a few disgruntled and ill-motivated individuals. Of course the price of progress can be quite enormous.

The blood of the persons killed in the blasts has only joined the blood of our past heroes who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the nation. Their deaths must, however, not be in vain. The federal government's statement reassuring Nigerians of their safety must be backed up with concrete measures to restore real value to human lives in the country. While no effort should be spared in fishing out those behind that act of terrorism along with their sponsors, immediate steps must be taken by the federal government to provide succour to the families of the bereaved and the severely wounded.

There is no doubt that human life has been greatly debased in our present society. It hadn't always been so. On account of current difficult socio-economic circumstances many have lost all sense of humanity. Nor do they feel any sense of constraint about terminating the lives of others. The Jonathan government must do all in its power to restore the pristine value of respect for the sanctity of human life. As for those who seek to maim and kill for whatever reason, our advice is that it is a futile way to realise whatever may be their goal.

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