Man with grenades held at Nigerian ministry

2012-05-21 15:22

Abuja - A man tried to smuggle hand grenades and rifle ammunition into Nigeria's information ministry where ministers were attending a news conference Monday, witnesses and authorities said.

The man apparently made it past the gate of the Radio House compound in Nigeria's capital Abuja, heading toward where the ministers were meeting before being stopped.

Footage aired on the state-run Nigerian Television Authority showed the man sitting on the ground next to a woman's handbag that contained the rifle rounds and the grenades.

As journalists shouted questions at the man after his arrest, he said that he had come from a neighbouring state and was trying to give the bag to someone else inside the ongoing ministerial conference. The conference, aired live on state television Monday, continued uninterrupted.

Local police spokesperson Jimoh Moshood declined to immediately comment. A federal police spokesman did not answer a call for comment.

Nigeria has been under increasing attack by a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram, which has been blamed for more than 520 killings this year alone, according to an Associated Press count. Nigeria's capital also has been targeted in bombings carried out by militants from the country's oil-rich southern delta.