Nine persons suspected to have a hand in the October 1 bomb blast in Abuja have been arrested by the State Security Service [SSS].
The Assistant Director, public relations of the SSS, Marilyn Ogar said investigations reveal that the nine arrested persons have direct link with the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta [MEND], Mr. Henry Okah.
She further said that some prominent Nigerians have also been linked with the attack which claimed over a dozen lives.
"They all have direct links with Henry Okah, the incident and some unscrupulous prominent elements in society," Ogar said.
The secret service also revealed that it had foiled a larger plot to detonate at least six car bombs close to key government and security buildings in Abuja days before last Friday's Independence Day attacks.
According to the State Security Service (SSS) spokesperson, those responsible had planned a larger attack for Wednesday September 29 in which at least six car bombs were to be detonated in the "three-arm zone" made up of the presidential villa, the National Assembly and the Supreme Court.
"The despicable act of terrorism which eventually took place on October 1 was planned for Wednesday September 29 but was foiled as soon as information was received during the early hours of September 28," Marilyn Ogar told journalists.
"The over-riding objective of the group was to scare foreign visitors from attending the 50th anniversary celebrations."
The attacks were claimed by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), although President Goodluck Jonathan has said investigations showed the perpetrators used the group's name as a cover.
President Jonathan said investigations had revealed MEND members knew nothing about the attacks and they had been carried out by a small group based outside Nigeria, sponsored by "unpatriotic elements within the country".
Henry Okah, believed to have long been a senior member of MEND, was charged in South Africa on Monday with conspiracy to commit a terrorist act and the detonation of explosive devices in Abuja.
A lawyer for Okah, who now lives in South Africa, has denied his involvement in the explosion of two car bombs near a parade in Abuja marking Nigeria's 50th anniversary of independence on Friday, killing at least 10 people and injuring 36, according to police.
Prosecutors charged Okah with conspiracy to commit a terrorist act and the detonation of explosive devices in Abuja.
"The accused is linked to the bombing that took place in Abuja," said Hein Louw, the magistrate overseeing the court proceeding.
Okah, dressed in a yellow checked shirt, was admonished by court officials for slouching in the dock.
His lawyer, Piet du Plessis, told the court that his client was not involved in the bombing and requested for him to be placed in a prison that provides greater guarantees for his safety.
A MEND statement signed by Jomo Gbomo, believed to be a pseudonym used by the group to claim previous attacks was emailed to some media outlets warning that the area should be evacuated an hour before the Abuja bombs went off.
President Jonathan's special adviser on the Niger Delta, Timi Alaibe, was quoted on Sunday as saying MEND's leaders were cooperating with the government and that Okah was using the group's name.
"Everyone in the structure knows Jomo Gbomo is Henry Okah. There is no MEND sitting anywhere in any camp. It's all Henry Okah, through and through," he was quoted as saying by one of Nigeria's local news agencies.