This Day (Lagos)

20 February 2013

Nigeria: Festac Blast - Police Arrest Suspects

Photo: Vanguard
Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Umar Manko at the scene of the blast

The police in Lagos have arrested an undisclosed number of persons in connection with Monday's explosion at the Miracle Sand Beach under the bridge linking FESTAC Town with Amuwo Odofin.

The explosion which emanated from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), had killed the chairman of the Sand Dredger Association, Oladele Pius and injured a policeman, one Inspector Sani.

In line with the pledge by the Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, to ensure a thorough investigation, it was gathered that some of the persons that were arrested were those who had called the deceased on the phone minutes before the device went off.

According to police sources, the police had to tow that line of action in order not to leave any stone unturned in uncovering the masterminds of the heinous act.

It was also gathered from sources close to the family that they had encouraged the police to tow that line because the deceased was reluctant to go the office until some phone calls came in and changed his mind.

THISDAY gathered that although the first phone call on his phone was from the policeman that was with him when the blast occurred, other calls came in at about 10.54 am, 11.06 am, 11,25am and 11.30am and spurred the deceased to go to his death.

Meanwhile, the deceased's friends and family dismissed claims that his death was accidental. According to them, the deceased was lured to his death as he had earlier made up his mind not to go to work based on premonition.

Some of his friends who spoke on strict anonymity said the murder attempt was not the first made on the deceased's life.

He said, "Before they finally succeeded in killing him, so many attempts had been made on his life including through diabolical means. And as if he knew, he didn't want to go to work that day but some people who we are yet to know their identity kept on calling him until he went."

He also faulted the CP's claim that the blast was not from a bomb but from an IED. He said, "The police are saying it was not a bomb but an electrical fault when we know that bomb was premeditated.

"From what we saw after the device went off, it was buried just where Oladele sits. Everyone in the park knows that that particular spot is where he sits and so for it to be planted there means he was the target."

But the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ngozi Braide, said conclusions can only be drawn after investigations must have been done, adding that preliminary investigations showed that the explosion was caused by electrical fault and not a bomb.

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