This Day (Lagos)

5 February 2013

Nigeria: Police Defuse Parcelled Explosive 'Meant' for Okonjo-Iweala

Photo: THIS DAY
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The police anti-bomb squad Monday defused a parcel suspected to contain some explosive items.

The parcel, which was addressed to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was dropped at the post office in Area 10, Garki, Abuja.

There was pandemonium in Abuja as the news of the discovery of the suspected parcel bomb spread across the city with residents scampering for safety.

According to the Post Master General (PMG) of the Federation, Mr. Ibrahim Mori-Baba, a man suspected to be of unsound mind planted the parcel in front of the post office last Friday.

However, he could not confirm if the parcel was rigged with explosives or not.

He said security agents had promised to investigate the content of the parcel in order to determine if what exploded during a controlled detonation was a bomb or not.

"What happened was that on Friday, somebody just came; we couldn't understand whether that person was a sane person or not. He wanted to go to the post office but unfortunately for him, the gate was closed and he couldn't have access to our building, so he left the so-called parcel by the main gate.

"I call it so-called parcel because before any parcel could get through the process, there are processes that have to be undertaken and these include weighing of the parcel and then determining how much the sender will pay.

"We will also examine the parcel in the sender's presence. We will bring out the content to see what you are about to send. In this case, this person left the parcel there, went inside, bought stamps, and pasted it on it to indicate as if the thing went through our process.

"I want to say that it didn't go through our process, the man just wanted a camouflage to say that he had already posted it therefore requiring us to deliver it. But that parcel was not processed.

"The police came and they were able to examine it. Eventually they found something suspicious and it was a bomb," Mori-Baba added.

In his account of the incident, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Commissioner, Aderenle Shinaba, said the Police Explosion Ordinance Device Squad, disarmed a 40-ton object made up of sand and tiles discovered on the premises of NIPOST, in Area 10 of Garki district, Abuja.

Shinaba, while addressing reporters, denied reports of a bomb blast in the FCT, saying: "The true position is that no bomb blast occurred anywhere in Abuja today (Monday).

"At about 10 am, we got information that something was packaged in a carton, which looked like a bomb and planted at the entrance of NIPOST in Area 10.

"As a result of the current security situation in the country, we didn't want to take any chances. So I moved my officers (from the Explosive Ordinance Department and Anti-terrorist squads) to the scene.

"And to avoid what happened in Kaduna recently when a policeman in attempting to detonate a bomb lost his life, I directed the Explosive Ordinance Department to detonate the object technically from a distance.

"We detonated it and after that, discovered it was a package containing sand and tiles, that it had nothing to do with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or explosives.

"So there is no need for anxiety or panic. It was the detonation of the object that people were interpreting to be a bomb blast."

While assuring FCT residents of their safety at all times, Shinaba said the FCT Police Command was on top of the security situation in the capital city.

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