Barely a day after the Nyanya bomb blast which claimed over 200 lives, the atmosphere at the National Assembly in Abuja was yesterday tense and thrown into a state of confusion following a bomb scare which left workers and visitors scampering for safety and deserting their offices.
The scare, which happened at about 1 p.m., followed security tips which called for an immediate evacuation of workers from their offices at the National Assembly complex.
The security tip-off, a source told Blueprint, was given during a meeting which held between the directors of the National Assembly Commission and the Clerk of the National Assembly (CNA).
Immediately after the meeting, the directors, it was gathered, refused to return to their offices as they closed for the day and left the venue.
Their hasty departure triggered the curiosity of workers who had by this time received hint of the security tip-off asking offices to be evacuated, one which led to the shutting down of all offices, including banks within the complex.
At the complex, our correspondent noticed increased security presence, which was quite unusual, that had officers of the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, and Department of State Security (DSS) searching workers making their exit from the premises.
But in a reaction to the development, the Acting Sergeant-at-Arms of the National Assembly, Alhaji Ibrahim Ndako, told newsmen that the alleged bomb scare was a mere rumour.
Ndako said: “There is nothing like bomb scare. It is just a rumour. Those banks chose to close because we have assured them that there is nothing like that. It’s just mere rumour.”
But the scare was, however, extended to the offices at the Federal Secretariat, as workers were seen in huge numbers shutting down and deserting their offices even before closing hours.
This led to traffic congestion at the secretariat junction where most congregated, as so many of them who were headed for the Nyanya-Mararraba axis became stranded due to insufficient means of vehicular transportation required to convey them to their respective destinations.
Some of the workers who spoke to Blueprint on the condition of anonymity decried the state of insecurity in the country which threatens the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
One worker said: “I’m fed up of with this country and what is happening. Now there is no peace even in Abuja again. Imagine the number of people gathering here. What if a bomb goes off here? What will happen to all of us? Simply because we can’t have transport to go back home. This country is a useless place. What are the security agencies doing? Can’t they stop these Boko Haram people from causing all these problems?”
Similarly, at about 3:30 pm yesterday, staff of the Federal Ministry of Justice left their duty posts following reports that an explosive material had been planted in the Central Area District of Abuja.
A staff of the ministry, who pleaded anonymity, said: “The directive to vacate the office complex came from the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, following security alert ordering people to immediately vacate the premises.”
The Chief Press Secretary to the minister, Mr. Ambrose Momoh, confirmed the development, but added that it was not peculiar to the justice ministry.
This directive is coming barely 48 hours after the Nyanya bomb blast.
As a result, security operatives at the ministry prevented people from entering the building.
With the development, it is apparent that the insurgent group Boko Haram is bent on instilling fear in the citizenry due to their unabated violent attacks on ordinary Nigerians.