MasterwebNews 6/5/16 - Onitsha Bomb Explosion & Limits Of Police Spinning Or Distorted Facts

[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Intersociety Nigeria, 4th May 2016)-Spinning”  is a police public relations methodology, designed to reduce deceitfully, the gravity of casualty figures, property destructions and distortion or suppression of general facts associated with social vices or disturbances; for the purpose of manipulating public opinion and saving police image or sustaining its mechanical legitimacy. In other words, it is a sustained distortion or corruption of facts of the matter or information by the police. “Spinning” is very common among policing entities of the third world or developing countries, owing to their failed intelligence, gross incompetence, lack of effective preventive policing, graft and inability to carry out their established duties and functions. To ensure these, scene of crime figures and facts are brutally mangled and information grossly corrupted or distorted in the context of “official crime findings or criminal statistics”.



Onitsha Bomb Blast: The True Story: “Kara” is a settlement quarter along Atani-Ogwuikpere Federal Road, in Ogbaru LGA of Anambra State. Its left side is dominated by Nigerian citizens of Hausa-Fulani extraction; who have settled in the area for over 30 years. It was formerly a cattle depot and slaughter. The area has a large space, occasioned by the presence of an inter-State electricity high tension wire, leading to erection of kiosks, shanties and other makeshift dwelling and trading structures. Its main entrance, down to Otumoye Primary School, is surrounded by kiosks and shanties from left, right and center. The area is very popular and serves as poutry, sugar-cane, suya and onions markets. It also houses Hausa-Fulani laborers, cobblers, artisans etc. At its boundary with the SS Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Nkutaku and the Otumoye Primary School in Okpoko Layout, lays a thriving commercial sex business.  At the right side of the Road are mechanic workshops, repairing assorted brands of vehicle. This section of “Kara settlement” is dominated by Nigerian citizens of Igbo extraction.



In the evening of Tuesday, 3th of May, 2016, between 8.30pm and 9pm, there was a heavy explosion with deafening sound; resulting in people around the area including parishioners of the SS Peter & Paul Catholic Church, at Nkutaku, scampering for safety. From Atani Road, down to Iyiowa Layout was thrown into panic. In the morning mass held at the St Gregory Catholic Church in Iyiowa Odekpe, the officiating priest of the Parish informed his parishioners how he got a distress call from the Parish Priest of the SS Peter & Paul Parish, informing him of the blast and its deafening noise. The SS Peter & Paul Parish shares a perimeter fence with the “Kara settlement”. As early as 8am in the morning of 4th May 2016, the scene was already besieged by security agencies in Onitsha zone. Some of the earliest visitors are the authorities of the Nigerian Navy, Ogbaru Post and the Onitsha Military Cantonment.



More security agencies, politicians, humanitarian, human rights and media bodies including Prof Peter Katchy (deputy chairman of Nigerian Red Cross, Anambra State), Mr. Victor Aguluo (chairman of Ogbaru LGA) visited the scene between 10am and 11am same morning. The Board Chairman of this organization in his capacity as human rights activist, volunteer general of the Nigerian Red Cross in Anambra State and a trained criminologist, was also part of the visit. The eyewitnesses’ accounts of what actually transpired were totally in tandem with circumstantial observations and commonsense.



A key eyewitness and leader of the settlement, Alhaji Sabo Mohammed later informed the visiting Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations (DC-OPS), Mr. J.B. Kokomo; accompanied by DPOs of Okpoko Police Station (CSP Kayode Olabanji), Fegge Police Station (SP Rabiu Garba), Central Police Station (SP Mark Ijaradu), Nteje Police Station (SP Daniel Barnabas) and that of Inland Town Police Station that “a young man came to one of food restaurants located at the center of the settlement at about 8.30pm and demanded for a plate of food. He quietly dropped two rubber-cans containing undisclosed fluid substances, took few spoonfuls of his ordered food, left the food unfinished as if he was going to ease himself and never came back. Few minutes after, there was a loud explosion hitting the food kiosk and injurying its customers”. This empirical account is corroborated by those of other witnesses including victims. They sharply contradict police account or angle (explosion resulting from ignition of stored fuel in jerry-can).



The explosive devices only shattered and burnt the food kiosk. Other surrounding shanties, kiosks and nearby conventional buildings like SS Peter & Paul Catholic Church, the First Baptist Church, the Good News Hospital and a nearby four storey building were not affected. The initial figure given by the Nigerian Red Cross, Ogbaru Division, as it concerns the victims; was seven. It later rose to about 11. Five were admitted at the Chioma Hospital in Ogbaru; one at the nearby Good News Hospital; one in critical condition with round-the-body bandages, was admitted at the nearby Multicare Hospital while others were admitted at the St Charles Borromeo Hospital in Onitsha and other undisclosed ones in Asaba, Delta State.



For records and technically speaking, there are varieties of low intensity explosive devices that are cheaply produced and can easily be detonated. They are presently in possession of malicious non-State actors around the world including Nigeria. These can easily be produced and manipulated by fresh graduates or under graduates of tertiary institutions particularly graduates and students of science and technology. With little tutorship, their end-users and handlers can successfully detonate them against their targets. Combination of their low and high intensity is generally classified as “Certain Conventional Weapons (CCWs)” or “Incendiary Explosive Devices”. They are also scornfully called “poor man’s grenades or explosives”.



These include petrol bombs, improvised explosive devices, anti personnel landmines etc. Incendiary explosives or devices can cause low intensity fires leading to destruction of sensitive equipment or body burns and cuts. Produced using thermite, magnesium powder, chlorine triflueride, white phosphous, etc; when detonate, these can cause painful and cruel injuries to the victims including body-burns and body cuts; usually difficult to treat medically.



The high intensity CCWs are capable of causing widespread destruction of civilian objects and infrastructures. The United Nations has placed global ban on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCWs) through the CCWs Convention of 1980. Another example of CCW is anti personnel landmine (APM).



Distorted Police Angle:

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