From EMMANUEL OGOIGBE:
At least two persons were feared dead and several others seriously wounded as bomb explosions rocked the government house annex in Warri, Delta State yesterday. Eminent Nigerians, including three state governors ran for dear life as three bombs, planted in vehicles parked at the government house premises shattered buildings and windowpanes, disrupting the post-amnesty dialogue of governors from the Niger Delta region.
Jointly convened by Vanguard Media Limited, publishers of the Vanguard newspaper and the Delta State Government, the conference was meant to proffer further solutions to the Niger Delta problems.
The conference had in attendance, the host the Delta Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and his Edo and Imo States counterparts, Adams Oshiomhole and Ikedi Ohakim respectively.
Other eminent personalities at the event included minister of Niger Delta, Chief Ufot Ekaette who represented Acting President Goodluck Jonathan; Abia State and Akwa Ibom Governors, Theodore Orji and Godswill Akpabio who were represented by top cabinet officials; former chief of defence staff, General Andrew Azazi (retd), who chaired the occasion; Vanguard Publisher, Sam Amuka Pemu; former Edo governor, John Odigie-Oyegun and former Delta governor, Chief Felix Ibru.
On the guests list were also commissioners, lawmakers, jurists, traditional rulers, scholars and journalists.
The occasion, started on a cheerful note, but ominous dark clouds gathered when the first bomb exploded at 11.00 a.m. as Governor Uduaghan led his colleagues from Imo and Edo States into the hall. They were accompanied by Chief Ekaette.
The first incident was initially mistaken for an explosion probably from an electricity installation within the Government House premises.
The worst happened barely 15 minutes into the ceremony as the Vanguard Publisher, Sam Amuka was making his speech.
A thunderous blast ripped open the ceiling of the conference hall where the summit was holding and wounded several persons.
Many others, including guests were seriously wounded as everybody was scampering out of the hall.
The governors and other dignitaries on the dais were quickly smuggled out of the hall through the exit door by security operatives.
Earlier, while declaring the summit open, Chairman on the occasion, General Andrew Azazi, commended Vanguard for organizing the event, noting that Delta State Government had also performed well in the areas of peace, security and infrastructure development.
Azazi, however, lamented that dialogue, peace, development and stability had eluded the Niger Delta and urged the people of the region to continue to unite to enable meaningful development come to the area.
The occasion was brought to an abrupt end following the massive car bomb attacks.
Meanwhile, the police have confirmed that one person died in the explosion.
Mr Charles Muka, the Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) in Delta said the police headquarters in Asaba had received the report of the death of a woman in the explosion.
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