A few hours after assembled dignitaries and heads of state had cheered Goodluck Jonathan’s inauguration as president in the capital Abuja a bomb exploded inside an army barracks in the northern town of Bauchi killing a dozen people.
The attack marred an otherwise celebratory mood at a swearing-in ceremony that capped an election process widely regarded as Nigeria’s most democratic ever, despite the outbreak of rioting and violence that greeted the results last month.
At least one bomb was detonated at a popular outdoor bar and restaurant located inside the barracks killing between 10 and 12 people, according to reports. Another 20 were injured in the attack.
"There were lots of people since it's a Sunday evening. People were relaxing, eating and drinking,” said Bauchi state police commissioner Abdulkadir Indabawa.
Suspicion is likely to fall on the radical Islamist group Boko Haram which has carried out a series of bomb attacks targeting the police, army and government buildings.
President Jonathan is a Christian from the south and defeated his nearest rival, a northern Muslim, in April’s election. His victory has stoked regional and religious animosities in Nigeria.
At his inauguration on Sunday afternoon he said: “We will not allow anyone to exploit differences in creed or tongue to set us one against another.”