Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

Africa

Deadly blasts mar Nigeria independence celebrations

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-10-01

Two explosions rocked celebrations in Nigeria's capital Friday, killing at least eight people near a parade route where government officials and foreign dignitaries were marking the 50th anniversary of the country's independence.

REUTERS - Eight people were killed and three injured in car bomb explosions that hit Nigeria's capital on Friday near a parade marking the 50th anniversary of independence, police said.

Two explosions, which also destroyed three cars, came an hour after the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Nigeria's biggest rebel militia, issued an email warning saying it had planted several bombs and telling people to evacuate the area.

A Reuters cameraman said security forces and firemen in the capital, Abuja, had been trying to douse a fire in a car after the first explosion when a second blast hit.
"Two car bombs exploded and eight people are confirmed dead," Abuja police spokesman Jimoh Moshood told Reuters.

The lavish celebrations of military bands, troupes of dancing children and air force displays continued as planned.
Given its warning, the finger of blame will rest heavily on MEND, which has been fighting for years for a greater share of oil revenues from the impoverished Niger Delta, home to Africa's biggest oil and gas industry.

Although most of its activities have been focused on the creeks and swamps of the delta, MEND has struck further afield, including at off-shore oil installations and in the heart of Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos.

"Several explosive devices have been successfully planted in and around the venue by our operatives working inside the government security services," the warning email, signed by MEND spokesman Jomo Gbomo, said.

"In evacuating the area, keep a safe distance from vehicles and trash bins."

'Wasted generation'

Broadcast television footage showed no interruption to the 50th birthday celebrations.

Shortly after the warning, President Goodluck Jonathan, who faces an election early next year, arrived in an armoured limousine dressed in his traditional black fedora hat and dark suit, before inspecting ranks of soldiers from an open-top jeep.

Jonathan is from the Niger Delta area, and many analysts thought his accession to the presidency earlier this year after the death of president Umaru Yar'Adua would have eased tensions between rebels and central government.

Despite the official pomp, the 50-year landmark has caused considerable introspection among Nigeria's 140 million people, many of whom regard the period since the end of British rule in 1960 as a half-century of broken dreams.

As well as a succession of brutal and economically disastrous military dictatorships and the squandering of billions of dollars in oil revenues, Nigeria suffered a civil war in the late 1960s in which a million people died.

"Leadership has failed the nation again and again and again," said author Wole Soyinka, the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, describing the post-colonial era as a "wasted generation".

"It has been backwards steps -- one step forwards and then ten back."

Despite the gloom, others feel that after 10 years of unbroken civilian rule, Nigeria is on the cusp of a major revival, supported by high oil prices, a flood of foreign investment and gradual liberalisation of its economy.

Date created : 2010-10-01

  • NIGERIA

    Nigerian rebels 'locate' abducted French workers

    Read more

  • NIGERIA

    Goodluck Jonathan to seek re-election in 2011 presidential race

    Read more

COMMENT(S)