Thisday bomb attack
By Chuks Okocha, Ndubuisi Francis, Wale Ajimotokan and Muhammad Bello
More condemnation and outrage have followed Thursday’s bomb attacks on THISDAY’s offices in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, and Kaduna.
Senate President David Mark and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Abdukadir Mohammed, Friday denounced the bomb attacks on THISDAY offices, describing them as dastardly.
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) urged THISDAY not to be deterred by anybody from performing its professional duties to humanity while opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) said the attack was “an arrow to the heart of free speech.”
The offices of The Sun and Moment newspapers in Kaduna were also affected in the bombings which were the first direct attack on media houses since the inception of the Boko Haram insurgency.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alhaji Muhammad Dikko Abubakar, said some arrests had been made in respect of the attacks.
Mark was represented by the Spokesman of the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, at a sympathy visit to the Abuja office of THISDAY.
The Senate President said: “I am here to represent the Senate President and indeed the National Assembly. We came to commiserate with THISDAY Newspapers and the Nigerian press in general. This is a dastardly act. Nobody who has seen this will have any doubt that it is designed to cow the press. It is designed to ensure that the press in Nigeria is rushed into submission, not remain vibrant and true to its purpose. The media will continue to report matters concerning Nigerians and that will be in their best interest.
“We are also appealing to all these elements that violence will never solve whatever misgivings they have about the Nigerian state. In any part of the world where you have problems, violence has never solved anything. We also condemn the fact that innocent citizens are those that are being targeted. Those who are working with THISDAY Newspapers have absolutely nothing to do with their issue with the Nigerian state.
“We condole with the newspaper and commiserate with the newspapers and the families of those who have lost their loved ones in this heinous act. We know we are going to surmount this problem. We also appeal to well-meaning Nigerians that everybody is a target. If you have any information, you should bring it to the security agencies.”
Mark urged the Federal Government to implement last week’s resolution of the Senate on how to tackle the insecurity posed by Boko Haram.
The FCT Minister, in a condolence letter personally signed by him and addressed to the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of THISDAY Nduka Obaigbena, said the news of the bomb explosion came as a rude shock.
The minister said the FCT was exceedingly pained by the “needless spilling of innocent blood and the anguish brought to families by this cowardly act”.
Members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP who also visited the THISDAY office Abuja urged the newspaper not to be deterred in its duties.
The PDP NWC was led by the party’s National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and had in the delegation the National Woman Leader, Ambaasador Kema Chikwe; National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metu; National Auditor, Chief Bode Mustapha, and the National Legal Adviser, Kwon Victor.
Oyinlola said during the visit: “We will like to encourage you not to be deterred in performing your duty to the public”.
He called on security agencies in the country “to step up their operations in curtailing the activities of the sect”.
Oyinlola advised Nigerians to see security as everybody’s duty, as “security matters should not be left for government alone. Any information, no matter how minute should be passed on to the security agencies to help control this kind of incident”.
ACN National Publicity Secretary Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement in Lagos, said nothing in the world could justify such attacks against the media.
''Unfettered flow of information is the lifeblood of any society and a necessary ingredient for a successful democracy, and the media in Nigeria have largely carried out their role in this regard with rare courage and uncommon determination."
Muhammed said to now “seek to scuttle this constitutionally-guaranteed role of the media on the basis of some nebulous justification is totally abhorrent and unacceptable. Any society that stifles the media asphyxiates itself''.
Also, the pioneer chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Onyema Ugochukwu also condemned the attacks, and urged the Nigerian press not to be intimidated..
Ugochukwu, a former editor of Daily times said the Nigerian press was vibrant and cannot be cowed by such attacks.
Meanwhile, IGP Abubakar has said those who perpetrated the attacks on the newspaper house were criminals and hoodlums, adding that some arrests have been made.
The IGP who was on his maiden visit to the Rivers State Police Command said the perpetrators of the blasts at THISDAY and The Sun offices were criminals and hoodlums.
He said the police had made arrests and useful information was being taken.
The IGP said he was in Port Harcourt to re-evaluate the security situation of the state and to tell his officers and men the direction of his administration.