The Nigeria Police have confirmed that eight persons were killed while an unspecified number of persons were injured in the massive bomb blast which rocked its highly fortified but porous headquarters on Thursday morning.
Reports monitored on state-owned broadcast stations, the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) and Radio Nigeria, this morning quoted police spokesperson, Sola Amore, as confirming the casualty figure on Thursday night.
Police sources however said the death toll is “definitely higher” than the authorities have admitted.
Mr. Amore had earlier on Thursday afternoon claimed that only two people – the suicide bomber who drove the explosive-laden vehicle into the complex and the traffic warden who tried to scrutinize him – died in the incident.
Radio Nigeria reported that one of its correspondents witnessed six bodies brought into the morgue of the Asokoro District Hospital, about a kilometre away from the scene of the blast.
The NTA also showed footages of wounded officers in uniform who were receiving treatment for various degrees of injuries.
The reports also quoted Mr. Amore as also saying that 73 vehicles were damaged in the incident, with 33 of them beyond repairs.
The police spokesperson had blamed the explosion on Boko Haram, the militant Islamic sect with aversion for western education, believed to be responsible for the spate of bombings in Maiduguri in Nigeria’s Northeast.
“Definitely, we suspect those that go by the name Boko Haram who have been issuing threat upon threat,” Mr. Amore said.
He added that investigation into the incident had commenced, and that forensic experts had been called in to help.
Meanwhile, the incident has sparked widespread outrage across Nigeria, with many blasting the police for not detecting the crime before it occurred.
“One thought the police headquarters should be the safest place to be,” said Mohammed Garba, President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists. “The incident is a shame. It’s a national disgrace.”
On social networking site, Facebook, many Nigerians are calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to fire the police chief, Hafiz Ringim, and heads of other security agencies for their inability to check the rising insecurity in the country.