Nigerian Inspector General of the National Police Hafiz Ringim has come under scrutiny in the aftermath of the bombing of the headquarters in Abuja. At least two people were reported killed in the blast that destroyed over 80 vehicles., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
FBI Agents Arrive Abuja, Comb Police Headquarters
By Yemi Akinsuyi
21 Jun 2011
Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have arrived Nigeria to help in the investigation of the 16/6 bomb attack on the headquarters of the Nigerian Police Force in Abuja.
The FBI is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency (counterintelligence).
The FBI team did some extensive forensic investigation at the Loius Edet House yesterday morning, sources said.
The team, made up of three men and one woman, spent hours combing the premises, taking measurements and photographs.
They were joined by men of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) of the Nigerian police from Alagbon, Lagos State, to conduct the investigation.
A police source said the FCID in Abuja had been side lined because the top hierarchy of the force believed the information published in the media was coming from the department. Hence, the Alagbon team was co-opted from Lagos.
After taking the forensic evidence, the team went to hold a meeting with Inspector General of Police (IG) Hafiz Ringim before leaving the premises.
The media is being kept in the dark over the state of investigation because, according to an insider, the police hierarchy was very displeased with the media coverage of the attack which left at least six persons dead.
Monday, a new story was being pushed out from the police headquarters that Ringim had met with the bomber at his official residence before leaving for his office.
Contrary to reports that the suspected bomber sauntered into the IG convoy, the source said the suspect was earlier that day at the IG’s house, where he was said to have told the police boss of his readiness to assist in fighting the Islamic fundamentalist group, Boko Haram.
It is being argued that the attack was not carried out by a suicide bomber as reported by the police, owing to the fact that he would have forced himself into the building and detonated the bomb rather than following the traffic officer to the car park.
THISDAY was told Monday night that the suspect spoke with Ringim in Hausa while both were at his official residence. The police boss reportedly asked him to follow his entourage to the office as such a discussion was official and should be done in the office.
“That was why the IG’s security detail allowed the man to drive in the convoy. The security detail also alerted the security personnel at the main gate of the man’s car, and since there was an instruction, nobody could have stopped him or searched his car. If not for the earlier instruction, the anti-bomb men at the gate would have detected the device. It’s just too unfortunate,” said one of the officers, who preferred anonymity.
He explained further that but for the quick intervention of one of the officers, “the whole building would have been brought down”.
The officer had just parked at the car lot and moved towards the building to halt the occupants of the strange vehicle and immediately ordered that they should not follow the IG to his car park, the source said.
This story is however different from the one earlier told by the police which initially attributed the attack to a suicide bomber.
A security analyst told THISDAY: “If indeed the IG had issued an instruction that the suspected bomber be allowed to be part of his convoy, why would any officer stop him when he had already been allowed to enter the premises? There is something that does not connect in the new story.”
When contacted on phone Monday evening for the confirmation of the story, Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Olusola Amore, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, said he could not confirm it.
Amore said the IG had not told him anything concerning the bomber, adding that “any journalist could go to a beer parlour to write his story”.
Meanwhile, security at the main entrance to the Force Headquarters has remained very tight as the officers at the gate were not only hard on visitors, they did not hide their anger at journalists, who were there on official duties, insisting that they should not enter the building.
When THISDAY got to the main gate, a woman Superintendent of Police (SP) was in hot argument with one of the reporters from a radio station, shouting on top of her voice.