Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Usual Suspects

On the 50th anniversary of Nigeria's independence from Great Britain, Friday, October 1, 2010, a heinous crime was carried out in Abuja. Two car bombs were detonated, killing 10 people and wounding 21 others. Just before the bombs went off, news outlets Sahara Reporters and 234Next issued alerts stating that Niger Delta-based militant group, MEND, had sent emails warning that there would be explosions in the federal capital within 30 minutes. That time line was adhered to, and lives were lost.

Following the blasts, MEND issued, via the same outlets and international media, another statement claiming responsibility for the attack, and stating that lives would not have been lost had the FG heeded its numerous warnings about its planned attack, and warned the public accordingly. MEND further stated that Nigeria had nothing to celebrate in 50 years, and so on, and so forth.

Astonishingly, the next day President Goodluck Jonathan went before the media and stated that not only did MEND have nothing to do with the attack, but that the government would soon reveal those who were responsible. According to him, MEND would not do anything to jeopardize the chance of one of their own, namely himself, becoming President, which is what this attack was surely meant to do.

This patently absurd statement was rubbished no sooner than he was done by MEND issuing yet another statement in which they claimed to have given the government 5 days advance warning of their plan, and an additional one hour warning prior to detonation. Again, they laid the blame for any lost lives squarely at the FG (and Goodluck Jonathan's) door.

@Chxta's Facebook page made for interesting reading following Goodluck's statement. There were those who fiercely defended Goodluck's claim that MEND (which had claimed responsibility several times) was not to blame, but rather it was Goodluck's political enemies, most especially ex-dictator Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida or IBB, known affectionately to Nigerians as "Maradona" or "The Evil Genius". These people claimed that the hand of IBB was behind the bombings as he was seeking to discredit Jonathan.

I am no fan of IBB, and if I had my way, he would be first in line to face a firing squad on the day of the revolution. However, the idea that IBB planned and executed this terrorist act in order to "discredit" Goodluck was extremely laughable. In the first place, the man is running for President on the same platform as Goodluck, and would therefore be keenly aware of Nigerians love of incumbency. Accordingly, unless the bombs were planted in Goodluck's car, there would be no discrediting him.

Secondly, IBB would never plan such a thing as it would be insane of him to do so, knowing that the fingers of blame would immediately head in his direction. Goodluck would thus do everything in his power to prove that it was indeed IBB who planned and carried out the terror attack, and his Presidential race would be over and done with before you could say "June 12".

Then, this evening word came that Raymond Dokpesi, media mogul and the Director of IBB's campaign for President, had been arrested in connection with the bomb blasts, and the evidence against him is that two "suspects" already in custody had exchanged messages asking if Dokpesi had "paid the balance" and setting out plans to meet in IBB's campaign office.

The world record pace at which "suspects" have been arrested by a police force which couldn't catch a cold if you injected it with swine flu, immediately raised my suspicion. That they now claim the existence of these "text messages" as proof of Dokpesi's and, by extension, IBB's involement in what happened on Friday, tells me that clearly, Goodluck and his "advisers" consider themselves to be the smartest people in a country filled with retards.

It all seems so convenient that not only wasn't MEND responsible for the attack, IBB and his campaign director are. Throw in that IBB is easily Goodluck's stiffest challenger in the presidential race, and other far more sinister pictures begin to emerge.

Suppose MEND did it, and Goodluck knows it was indeed MEND, but has acted quickly to pin the crime on IBB in order to get hm out of the way? That doesn't require a hell of a stretch.

Or, suppose it really wasn't MEND? What if the whole thing was simply a plot by Goodluck and his advisers, led by Baba and Mr. Fix-It, designed to get IBB out of the way? That so many were instantly blaming IBB for the whole thing mere minutes after it happened must have had them leaping with glee. We've all seen the callous disregard with which our ruling class treats its citizens. 16 lives sacrificed in the pursuit of power, which is the only thing they care about, is not such a big deal. It would certainly explain Goodluck's rush to absolve MEND of any blame, and his comments about knowing those responsible. It would also explain the criminal negligence of the security agencies who, despite having advance notice of the threat via the news agencies, refused to issue any warning to the public.

It goes some way to showing how it is that they already knew the perpetrators of a crime as sophisticated as a double car bombing less than 24 hours after it had been committed, and had suspects in custody who had text messages asking each other about Dokpesi and IBB.

Connect the dots and ask yourself if it's really that hard to imagine?

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I love my country, enjoy a cold beer once in a while, rabidly support Arsenal FC, but I don't get Diet Coke...