Experts search for clues after New York blast injures 29
• Buhari, at UN, to seek $550m aid for North East
• Lawyer loses bid to get $320m from Abacha’s $458m loot
An investigation into Saturday night explosion in New York, United States that injured 29 people, continued yesterday with experts combing through the scene looking for clues that could point to the suspects.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in New York City amidst the explosions. But there was cheery news for him as a court in the United States threw out an appeal by a lawyer, Godson Nnaka, that he be paid $320 million of the $458 million due to Nigeria from funds looted by the late former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, because of the role he played in the release of the money to Nigeria by the U.S. government.
New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo said investigators so far had not found any connection to international terrorist groups and there was no further immediate threat to the city.
According to USA Today, Cuomo said the state would be dispatching 1,000 extra state police officers and National Guard troops to patrol subways, bus terminals and airports, just to be safe.
The explosion was from an apparent homemade device at West 23rd Street in the Chelsea neighborhood in front of a residence for the blind and near a major thoroughfare with many restaurants.
A second device believed to be a pressure cooker was later found four blocks away on West 27th Street and was safely removed early yesterday, according to the New York Police Department. The pressure cooker attached wiring and a cellphone had been placed inside a plastic bag, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The device was removed with a robot and taken to a department firing range in the Bronx.
Two pressure cookers had been used in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and injured more than 260.
A statement on the Abacha loot from the office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice two weeks ago revealed that the “forfeiture of the remaining $100 million in assets is still pending” because certain individuals, who are related to Atiku Bagudu (General Abacha’s associate and Kebbi governor) are claiming that “these assets are the subject matter of a private family trust.”
Yesterday, a response was still being awaited from the Minister, Abubakar Malami (SAN) on what efforts were in place to pursue the other looted funds trapped in the American financial system as Buhari visits New York for the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly. As one of those slated to address the plenary session, he will touch on the plight of the nearly nine million persons within the Lake Chad area who are caught up in the insurgency racking the area and the depleted water in the Lake that has disrupted their lives.
Also, it is expected that there will be talks for a $550 million aid from western countries to meet the needs of the North-Eastern part of the country that has been ravaged by insurgency which has displaced millions of people.
Some of those on the president’s entourage are the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Munguno; Minister of the Interior, General Abdulrahman Danbazzau; Minister of Solid Minerals Dr. Kayode Fayemi; and Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed.