Abuja, Nigeria – Despite the security breaches arising from the two bomb blasts and an accidental discharge from a policeman in Abuja, the federal capital, Nigeria Friday put on one of the most memorable independence anniversary celebrations in Africa to mark 50 years of independence from Britain.
Amidst parades by troops and formations of the various military disciplines, school children and others as well as aerial displays by the Air Force, two explosions, one of them from a car bomb, went off at short intervals near the Eagle Square, the venue of the celebrations, attended by a galaxy of presidents.
Chief celebrant was President Goodluck Jonathan and with him were Vice President Namadi Sambo, members of the National Assembly, former Heads of State and Presidents of Nigeria and 14 Presidents of sister African nations — Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Benin, Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Namibia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Zambia and the Saharawi Arab Republic.
PANA reports that security was initially tight inside the venue of the celebrations until a bang came from the gun of a policeman, injuring two persons.
But the biggest threat were the two bomb blasts in which seven persons died and scores were wounded.
As part of the celebrations, all flights were banned between 10.30am and 3pm except for aircraft of the Nigerian Air Force involved in the aerial displays.
Eight minutes into the ceremony, there was heavy rain which drenched those already lined up for the parade. It abated later and the ceremonies continued.
Mounting the review vehicle, President Jonathan took a ride and reviewed the parade, waving to the crowds on his way.
Meanwhile, Police have confirmed that seven persons died in as a result of the blast.