After attending the opening ceremony and one session of the ongoing African Union, A.U., summit in Equatorial Guinea, President Goodluck Jonathan has begun his return journey home following a car bomb that killed at least 21 people in Abuja Wednesday, a reliable presidency source has told PREMIUM TIMES.
The president left his hotel at about 6 p.m. Nigerian time and arrived the Malabo airport at about 6:40. Boarding formalities commenced immediately, with the delegation flying out of the airport at about 7 p.m for the about one hour flight to Abuja.
Mr. Jonathan’s plane is expected to touch down in the Nigerian capital at about 8 p.m.
The president travelled to the Central African nation Wednesday for the A.U. meeting shortly a blast hit Emba plaza, a busy shopping complex in Wuse 2, Abuja.
Police said 21 persons died and 17 injured in the . Force spokesperson, Frank Mba, said one suspect was arrested.
Presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, had told PREMIUM TIMES the president and his entourage were arriving at their hotel in Malabo, the Equatorial Guinean capital, when they received news of the attack.
The president took an immediate decision to return to Nigeria early Thursday, Mr. Abati said.
Mr. Jonathan travelled left to participate in the 23rd Ordinary Session of the African Union’s Summit of Heads of State and Government, Mr. Abati said in a statement.
He was accompanied by his wife, Patience, and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Water Resources, Health and Industry Trade and Investment.
The president initially planned to return on Friday when the summit ends
In an earlier statement, Mr. Abati said the discussion at the summit would focus on the evolution and implementation of fresh strategies and measures to improve agricultural production and food security in the continent, among others.
He said this is keeping with the AU’s declaration of 2014 as the Year of Agriculture and Food Security.
The president and other African leaders, participating in the summit, will also deliberate on the appointment of judges of the African Court of Justice, the statement said, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
“They will deliberate on the appointment of judges of the African Human Rights Court of Justice and the appointment of the President and Vice-President of the Pan-African University,” the statement had said.
“The African heads of state and government will also consider and adopt the decisions and recommendations of the 25th Regular Session of the African Union’s Executive Board.
“They will also consider the Declarations of the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Conference of the union.’’