A man who attempted to gain entry into Radio House, venue of a national ministerial press briefing in Abuja, with three hand grenades and 37 rounds of AK 47 live ammunition was yesterday apprehended by security operatives who nabbed him at the main entrance of the building.
LEADERSHIP learnt that the man, whose name was given as John Akpanum, a 39-year-old engineer from Nasarawa State, concealed the dangerous weapons in a black nylon bag which he hid inside a black leather bag. The security officials who noticed him as he walked briskly into the Radio House gave him a chase and retrieved the lethal bag from him.
Radio House, which belongs to the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), also houses the Federal Ministry of Information, Voice of Nigeria, Kapital FM as well as the National Press Centre.
For some weeks now, federal ministers have been taking turns to give account of their stewardship at the press centre as part of activities to mark President Goodluck Jonathan’s one year in office as well as this year’s Democracy Day.
The ministers of aviation, Mrs Stella Odua; youth development, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi; and attorney-general of the federation, Muhhammed Adoke , were briefing the press when the suspected bomber was nabbed.
A source who works with one of the radio stations located inside the Radio House, and who said he saw when the security operatives were interrogating the man, said when the news went round that a suspected suicide bomber was arrested in the premises of Radio House, it caused pandemonium as many people began to scamper for safety.
The source said the command’s anti-bomb squad supported by the Anti-Terrorism Squad and Mobile policemen, deployed to the house to provide adequate security in view of the ongoing ministerial news conferences, arrested the suspect.
It was gathered that the suspect, when interrogated, said the ammunition was meant for his brother, a police officer attached to the Radio House.
Mr John Akindele, the policeman and the chief security officer attached to Radio House, said Akpanum was arrested at the entrance of the building when it was noticed he was carrying explosives.
Addressing journalists, Akindele said that the security operatives posted at Radio House spotted the man carrying a black knapsack walking briskly into the premises.
“We gave him a chase and brought him back to the gate and, on searching his bag, we discovered a hand grenade, the 386 model, 37 rounds of AK 47 live ammunition and other accessories,” he stated.
On interrogation, the alleged bomber said the ammunition belonged to his late brother who was a corporal.
He said: “This belongs to my brother, Mr. Aliyu Clement, who was a corporal serving in Bayelsa State. He died in 2006 and we discovered this ammunition when we were sorting his property and I was delegated to return it to the Police Force at the right time and see if they can process his gratuity and pension.”
Police spokesman Frank Mba who confirmed the incident identified the man as John Akpabu, a Christian, saying that they are still investigating the man to find out his motives and other people behind his mission.