The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, is on her way to Nigeria as the organization mobilizes in response to today’s bombing of the United Nations House in Abuja.
In a press statement in New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the bombing, which he described as “an assault on those who devote their lives to helping others.”
In recent years, the UN has consolidated its offices in single locations. The UN House in Abuja accommodates 26 humanitarian and development agencies of the United Nations family.
Although the Nigeria Police said about 18 people died in today’s blast, Mr. Ban said, “We do not yet have precise casualty figures but they are likely to be considerable.”
Extending his sympathies to the victims and their families, he said the United Nations would assist them during this difficult time.
Ms. Migiro, a former Tanzania Foreign Minister, will be accompanied to Nigeria by Mr. Gregory Starr, who is the United Nations security chief. Both senior officials will meet with Nigerian authorities upon arrival in Abuja, Mr. Ban said.
It was curious that the Nigeria government had yet to call Mr. Ban at the time of the press conference. “I am going to call President Jonathan of Nigeria soon,” Mr. Ban said.
In Abuja, Mr. Jonathan condemned the attack, calling it “a most despicable assault on the United Nations’ objectives of global peace and security, and the sanctity of human life to which Nigeria wholly subscribes.”
In a statement by presidential spokesman Reuben Abati, he sent his condolences to Mr. Ban Ki-moon and all those who lost loved ones in the bomb blast.
“President Jonathan reaffirms the Federal Government’s total commitment to vigorously combat the incursion of all forms of terrorism into Nigeria, and wishes to reassure all Nigerians and the international community that his Administration will spare no effort to bring the perpetrators to justice,” the statement said.