[dropcap type=”2″]T[/dropcap]win bombs were let off at two separate areas in the capital city, reminding the residents and indeed Nigerians that, like the North East, the nation’s seat of power is not immune to attacks by the dreaded Boko Haram sect.
Nyanya, one of the two areas that were bombed, has become a regular and easy target for the sect. It will be recalled that the last two bombings in the nation’s capital occurred in that axis of the city. The Friday incident occurred about 15 months after the Wuse II explosions, which occurred close to the scene of the last two Nyanya blasts.
Although the impact was minimal in Nyanya this time around, compared to the one at Kuje, the other area where the deadly group struck on that fateful day, the two extreme ends were bombed simultaneously in what could have been coordinated attacks, leaving behind sorrow, blood and tears. No fewer than 20 deaths were recorded with many injured.
Miraculous survival of babies has become a recurring trend in the attacks on the capital city. In the first Nyanya blast, a baby named Goodness had escaped with a very minor injury, while the mother was seriously injured. The situation almost repeated itself in the Wuse II bomb blast where a baby boy named Joshua survived miraculously.
Unlike the Nyanya incident, however, Joshua’s mother did not survive the attack. She died immediately from a flying object that hit her as a result of the explosion. The same situation also played out in penultimate Friday’s twin explosions in Kuje where an 11-month-old baby girl, Ifeoluwa Adebayo, survived miraculously.
It was learnt that before the blast, which occurred at about 9 pm, little Ifeoluwa was strapped to her mother’s back. But she was thrown off by the blast and was not as lucky as the two other children because two of her toes were chopped off by the blast and she had to be admitted at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Trauma Centre of the National Hospital, where she is recovering.
Survivors recount ordeal
Survivors of the blasts and their relatives are still trying to come to terms with the incident which occurred at a time that the military appeared to be having the upper hand in the fight against the terrorists group.
Mr. Adebayo Moses, who lost his wife and two children in the Kuje incident, was still finding it difficult to overcome the news of the death of his loved ones. The retired civil servant also has an injured daughter and granddaughter to nurse. For him it is a hard pill to swallow as he said he sees his wife in his sleep every day.
Moses could only advise the government to, as a matter of urgency, address the insecurity situation. He said: “I am 58-year-old pensioner and a native of Ife, Osun State. I retired from the Federal Ministry of Aviation.
“My wife and her three children were coming from her garden in Kuje. They were trekking home when the bomb blast occurred. My wife, first daughter and last child died in the blast. Another of my child, Esther, who followed them, sustained injury on her leg, while my granddaughter, who will clock one year on the 22nd of this month, lost two of her toes.
“I am not myself. I have been devastated since this unfortunate incident occurred. My wife was like a mother to me. My lovely children ask after my wellbeing all the time. It is only God that can help me because I do not know how I will cope without them.
“My wife was 43 years old. The boy named Ifemi Adebayo was 24, while the last child, Oluwaseun, was 10.
” My late daughter, Christiana, had just finished from Nasarawa State Polytechnic. Their bodies are still in the National Hospital mortuary.
“I have sent a message home to see my wife’s family. I have also told them about the sad development and my people are with her family as I speak.
“Definitely, if government releases their bodies, the children will be buried here. But I do not know when the government will release their bodies.”
He urged the government to make security of lives and property its number one priority.
“Government should not relax about security. It should be an everyday affair. Do you know that I see my wife in my sleep every day? I cannot just stop thinking about my late wife and my children,” he said.
The baby Ifeoluwa, who is now out of the ICU, was found by one of the sympertisers who picked her up after she was thrown off from the back of her mother. She was found crying on the ground while her mother and grandmother lay dead.
Esther, Ifeoluwa’s aunt, who was also a survivor of the explosion, said she passed out and only woke up to find her in the arm of one of the sympertisers who held her close to his chest as she was crying.
Esther, who also had some cut on her right leg, said she never knew she was also injured until she took the little baby to the Kuje General Hospital where she was told that she also needed medical attention because of the cut on her leg.
A survivor, 33-year-old Jeffrey Emieh, had only gone to the area to deliver a message. He was among those that were receiving treatment at the National Hospital. He was a victim of the second Kuje bomb blast. The Road Safety Corps official, who is about to get married to his lawyer-fiancé based in Benin, Edo State, was waiting for a commercial motorcycle popularly called okada when the explosion went off.
Emieh said: “I am 33 years old. I was involved in the Kuje second bomb blast. I was coming from work and branched to give a parcel to a friend. I was just coming out. I had to do that because I wanted to go somewhere very early the next morning.
“I was there waiting for a bike to come around, but the usually busy area was unusually empty. As I was still wondering what could have happened, the bomb went off.
“I can’t be very sure, but I got there between the hours of 8 and 9 pm, because that is the time I usually come back from work. I am an officer with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC). I thank God that I am getting better. It is always an unfortunate incident.
“I do not want to sound political about it and it is not my priority to do that. I just thank God for saving my life. That is what I am interested in. I am about to get married. My fiancé is in Benin, Edo State. She is a lawyer.”
Another survivor, Idris Haruna, who hails from Kastina State, narrated how he narrowly escaped death while his three friends that were standing with him were felled by flying objects as a result of the blast.
His only worries now, according to him, is how start life all over again, as he said he had lost everything to the explosion.
He said: “I was in Kuje, where I sell wire on the road. It was probably around 9.30 pm when we were about closing for the day. We had already started packing our things when we heard the sound like something breaking. The distance between where I was and where the thing broke must not have been more than 10 yards.
“The show glass that I usually use to display my wares broke. About three of my friends, whom were standing in front of me as we talked, immediately died in front on me. I had to climb over their bodies to escape. It was just God that said that I still have more days ahead of me. The glass pierced the head of one of my friends. It also shattered my legs and laps. I thank God for saving me.
“ The only problem right now is that I lost everything in the blast. Everything that I have worked so hard to achieve has been lost. I cannot think of what will happen after I leave this hospital.”
He also appreciated the government for showing concern and picking their bills. He, however, pleaded with the government to assist them to get back on their feet.
Seventy-five-year-old Muhammadu Lawali, a suya seller and survivor of the Kuje blast, said he could not really say what happened. The only thing he could remember was that he woke up to find himself lying on the floor.
He said: “I just woke up and found myself lying on the floor in Kuje where I sell suya. From there, I was taken to the General Hospital Kuje, where they removed some iron rods from my back, shoulders, hand and laps. I was in hospital for about two days before I recognised where I was and was told that I was a victim of bomb blast.
“Well, I believe that it is from God. When God sends something to you, it must happen to you. It was predestined, so there is nothing that could have been done.”
A survivor of the Nyanya blast, Ibrana Bello, who trades in local perfumes under the Nyanya overhead bridge, said he was very close to the scene of the incident but escaped by a whisker. He was badly injured in the blast.
Recounting his ordeal, Bello said: “I was actually sitting down. I made to stand up and suddenly the bomb exploded, but I did not see who it was that detonated the bomb, because it was dark. The blast affected my legs seriously. I was quite close to the bomber. It was just God that delivered me.”
His elder brother said he was at Maraba check point when they called to tell him that his younger brother had been rushed to Nyanya General Hospital. He was later transferred to the Asokoro Hospital. Right now, he is getting better.”
Another survivor, Lawal Ibrahim, who sells shoes at the roadside where the blast occurred, was too weak to talk. He complained of chest pain.
The Katsina indigene was, however, more concerned about restarting his business.
Godlove Haruna, another survivor of the Nyanya explosion, was on his way to where he used to sleep when the explosion went off. He said all he could remember was that he was lifted up and came down hard on the ground.
The Plateau State indigene, who sleeps around the Nyanya Park where he loads vehicles, said: “I went to eat and was passing to go and sleep when the bomb exploded. I was not expecting it. As I was passing, I heard a loud bang and the next thing I saw myself up and then I hit the ground again. My ears immediately went deaf and my legs numb.
“I did not see any of the dead victims because when it happened to me, I lost consciousness.”
His brother, Ezra Joseph, who was also with him when the bomb went off, said: “They went to eat. After eating, he left him to go and sleep, we sleep at the park across the road where the bomb blast happened.
“He was right behind me. Before I could get to where we sleep, I heard a bang and I was telling someone that I hope this bomb blast has not affected my senior brother.
“When I went later to make enquiries, they said maybe he was among the people taken to the hospital. That was how I rushed to Nyanya hospital to find my brother before we were referred to the Asokoro General Hospital.”