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ABUJA (Reuters) - A man armed with grenades and several rounds of ammunition was stopped as he tried to enter a government building in the capital Abuja where two ministers were giving a news conference on Monday, a government security officer said.

"We arrested him with black bags containing three hand grenades and 37 live munitions. We snatched the bag from him at the gate as he was entering the compound," Akindele James, security officer in charge of the building, told Reuters.

"We handed him over to police."

Aviation Minister Stella Oduah and Youth Minister Bolaji Abdullahi were talking to reporters in the building at the time.

Radio House is home to the Information Ministry, state radio and another government funded station called Voice of Nigeria. It is often used for government news conferences.

Police spokesman Frank Mba identified the man as John Akpapu, a Christian name, suggesting he is not a Muslim as are the fighters of Islamist sect Boko Haram, a group waging an insurgency against Nigeria's government.

Akpapu gave the same name during a brief interview with a local TV station before he was hauled away. He said that the weapons belonged to his late brother, a policeman, and that he was keeping them in lieu of his entitlement to a payout.

He said he had approached a radio station to try and make public his plight.

"I was afraid if I take these things to the police they will arrest me," he said, before being whisked away by the police.

Boko Haram often attacks targets with automatic weapons or homemade explosives, though the sect is not known for using regular military grenades.

There was a bomb scare at the police headquarters in Abuja on Monday, although Mba said a man was arrested with no bomb, just a bag containing some broken bottles, a vehicle license plate, ATM cards and an umbrella.

"So far there is nothing to establish that this man is a bomber," he said.

(Reporting by Mike Oboh and Camillus Eboh; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Diana Abdallah)

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