Nigeria’s President Goodl uck Ebele Jonathan on Saturda y reiterated governmentâ?s unfettered commitment to crack down on those behind F ridayâ?s 50th Independence anniversary celebration attack near the Eagle Square, Abuja, describing it as a â?terrorist attackâ? on the country.
An official statement released by Mrs Eno Olotu for the Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity) said the President made this known in remarks a t the opening session of the first colloquium organised by the Economic Community
of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament in Abuja to mark the 50th independen c e anniversary of African states.
President Jonathan thanked members of ECOWAS and invited guests to the anniversa ry celebration for joining to condemn the sad incident stating that government w a s aware of those behind the attack and promised they would not be allowed to get
away with such a â?dastardly actâ?.
The local media have varying number of casualties from the blasts which occurred close to the Eagle Square venue of the celebration that was attended by Preside n t Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo, 14 visiting Heads of State and several f ormer Nigerian leaders.
The number of those who died, as reported, ranged from 7 to 16.
The private Thisday newspaper reported that British intelligence shared its know ledge of the attacks with the Nigerian government, “but somehow, Nigerian securi t y operatives failed to disrupt the plot”.
MEND has claimed responsibility and said their action was to drive home the poin t that Nigeria had nothing to celebrate in its 50 years of independence.
While commending the ECOWAS Parliament for organising the colloquium, he called on African leaders and all stakeholders to devote time to reflect on the contine n tâ?s performance so far and treat various perspectives of issues to be discussed in order to arrive at a synthesis of proposals to move the continent forward.
â?Our todayâ?s reality is that many countries in the continent are plagued by difficult challenges ranging from poverty, poor healthcare delivery, corruption,
insecurity and maladministration. As a result, the continent is in dire need of s olutions to these critical problems, which must be articulated and fully implemented to uplift the living standards of our populace,â? he explained.
The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mahamane Ousmane said the colloquium was a n avenue for sober reflection on the continentâ?s performance in the last 50 yea rs with the aim of correcting past mistakes.
Nigerian Senate President, David Mark, also noted that the colloquium would assi st the continent in reassessing and re-engineering achievements made so far and r eview the policy of integration that would help the continent forge ahead and al i gn with international best practices for a better future.