Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Independence Day Celebration: Nigerian Government Abandons Eagle Square For Fear Of Unknown

For the third year in a row, President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has failed to hold Independence Day events at Eagle Square, Abuja.

On October 1, 2010, the site became the scene of multiple car bomb explosions that claimed more than 20 lives and maimed many more during

a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence from Britain. Since that bloody attack, the Jonathan administration has abandoned the use of Eagle Square. In effect, the government has cancelled any form of formal ceremony to mark the anniversary of a troubled, crises-racked country.

The 2010 bomb explosions took place a few meters away from the venue of the celebration which was attended by several African leaders, foreign diplomats, and other notable people. The guests were startled when two cars rigged with explosives went up in flames, killing passersby and some security agents.

A Nigerian insurgent group called the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) later claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks. The militant group had been waging a low-level insurgency against the Nigerian government and oil companies for much of the previous five years. The 2010 explosions marked the first time MEND struck at the heart of Nigerian power, aiming a clear blow at Mr. Jonathan who is running for re-election in 2015.

Prior to the bombs going off, the militants had issued warning messages via cell phone texts. “There is nothing worth celebrating after 50 years of failure,” their statement read. It continued, “For 50 years the people of the Niger Delta have had their land and resources stolen from them.” The group had warned further that some of their operatives working inside the government security services had planted “explosives devices in some cars near the venue of the events.”

Since then, Eagle Square has remained a ghost of itself. The parade and other activities to mark Independence Day have been permanently shifted to the Presidential Villa by President Jonathan.

A security source within the Presidency told reveals that the situation has worsened because of the threat posed by the extremist Islamic sect, Boko Haram. The group, which last week stormed a school in Yobe State and shot dead more than 40 students, has promised to bring Mr. Jonathan’s government to its knees.

Our correspondent reported that the Nigerian capital, Abuja, was unusually quiet today. “The streets have little traffic and few people as most residents seem to have stayed indoors for fear of possible terrorist strikes. Most of the city’s recreational centers have been deserted while business places like shopping malls remain scanty and desolate,” he said.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...