Abuja bomb blasts: Counting the cost of losses in human lives

by Vanguard

Tears continue to flow as many Nigerians try to come to terms with the tragic reality of the twin bomb blasts that occurred last Friday at Nyanya and Kuje Area Council of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. The first of the blasts that rocked the nation’s capital happened in the Kuje Area Council near the entrance of the police station and is believed to have been carried out by a suicide bomber.

Mr Olu Abolarin who lost his wife, mother-in-law and brother-in-law with his baby who survived the blast.
Mr Olu Abolarin who lost his wife, mother-in-law and brother-in-law with his baby who survived the blast.
The second attack went off at the Kuje Main Market at about 9: 40 pm, killing 15 persons, while that of Nyanya detonated around 9: 35 pm, killing five persons.

Following those deadly blasts and the attendant high death toll, October 2, 2015 will forever remain a bitter day to remember for those who lost their loved ones.

One of them is Mr Olu Abolarin who lost his wife, mother-in-law and brother-in-law, in the Kuje Area Council bomb blast.

Samuel, a resident of Aleita, Lugbe Airport Road explained that his late wife, a student of Nasarawa State Polytechnic, on Wednesday told him she was visiting her parents in Kuje to celebrate the independence day not knowing that it will be the last day he will see her. According to him, his wife, Christiana Abolarin, got to Kuje on Wednesday and celebrated the independence with her mother who owns a garden close to Kuje Market.

“She called at around 9pm that they had closed from her mother’s garden and they were all strolling home because it wasn’t far from the house. I expected her call again. But it was not until around 11 pm when we heard that there was an explosion in Kuje. I tried her number but I couldn’t reach her.

“My father-in-law called me at mid-night to say that the explosion affected them and they could only see the younger sister of Samuel’s wife and his 11-month-old baby. He said they searched all round and couldn’t see them. So, we waited till the next day. It was then we came to the National Hospital and found my wife, mother-in-law and brother-in-law, their bodies mangled beyond recognition at the mortuary.

“In fact, I could only recognise her through the wrapper my mother gave her to always use to back our baby,” he said with tears in his eyes.

He regretted that if he had known that his wife of just one year and who also just finished her National Diploma, would meet her timely death in Kuje, he wouldn’t have allowed her to go. “I was look ing for where she will do her Industrial Training, IT— in my office and the budget department— so that she can be able to take care of our baby who I also intend to put in the day care of our office. But I never knew the Boko Haram had another plan for us,” he lamented.

Olu is not the only one in mourning. Several other families have been thrown into mourning by Boko Haram whose attacks have increased in intensity and frequency lately, with civilians as their main targets.

The Director, Family Planning, Federal Ministry of Health, Wapada Balami, confirmed that the number of persons who died following the twin bomb blasts that rocked the nation’s capital are 15 in Kuje Area Council and five in Nyanya, while 21 others were injured.

In a press statement issued in Abuja, he explained that in Kuje, there were two locations that were affected, adding that one is outside Kuje Police Station and the other is outside Kuje Market.

“In Nyanya, the two locations were very proximal to each other: by the road side in Jikwoyi exit along the side of the second Nyanya bridge and another within the surrounding market, just below the bridge. The number of persons currently in hospitals: In Nyanya all the patients that came in were treated and discharged; in Kuje, we also treated and discharged all the patients. In Nyanya and Kuje hospitals, there are no patients currently there.

“In Asokoro General hospital, we have seven patients currently on admission, while in the National Hospital, we have 13 patients currently on admission. In Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital, we have four patients.

“The inter-agency collaboration has been very good between the first responders and this should be kept up. All hospitals have exhibited very high sense of professionalism by taking very good care of the patients.

“A follow up meeting will be convened to fashion out ways of preventing future occurrence. Identification of victims and the dead has also commenced through morbid and forensic means. The relations will have access to the corpse of their loved ones immediately security clearance is concluded,” he said.

He assured that government has taken full control of the situation
and the public is hereby admonished not to panic. The public was also advised to desist from unfounded rumours of bomb blasts.

According to him, the combined team of security agencies will continue to work in partnership to provide updates to the public.

Meanwhile the United States has condemned the dual explosions in the Nyanya and Kuje areas of Abuja on October 2, and the suicide bombings and militant attacks in Maiduguri and Adamawa on October 1. In a statement made available to Vanguard Metro, it said: “We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed and injured. These tragic events are stark reminders that violent extremists will stop at nothing to inflict horrific and indiscriminate harm upon innocent lives.

In particular, Boko Haram’s reign of terror and sheer brutality have left thousands dead and millions displaced.

“The United States stands with the government and the people of Nigeria to defeat Boko Haram and other perpetrators of terrorism. Through our security and counter-terrorism assistance, our unparalleled commitment aims to help Nigeria achieve this goal”.

With the latest blast, nearly 1000 people have been killed since President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration when he vowed to crush the rebels by December 2015.

This revelation was contained in a report issued by the monitoring platform in his first 100 days in office. But despite the President’s best efforts, there had been several attacks by the extremist group, leaving deaths, blood and sorrow in their wake.

Indeed, in the last 100 days, there have been over 40 successful attacks and bomb explosions, which claimed the lives of nearly 1000 people and caused the destruction of properties worth millions of naira, the report said. Right from his inaugural speech, PMB (President Muhammadu Buhari) ordered the immediate relocation of the Military Command and Control Centre, MCCC, from Abuja to Maiduguri, Borno State, the report said.

“Since then, the administration has rejigged the Nigerian counter-terrorism architecture with interventions ranging from the forging of regional and international alliances to the appointment of new security chiefs with a marching order to end the insurgency within three months to improved security spending,” it said.

The report also said the new administration boosted the morale and welfare of security agents as soon as it came into office.

It said within 100 days, the Nigerian Army reinstated 3,032 officers and military personnel convicted by a General Court Martial for offences committed while fighting the insurgents.

The government, it added, also offered scholarships to the children of slain officers and monetary compensation to their families.

“More so, apart from the immediate release of N5 billion to bomb victims upon the directive from the President, Nigeria has received financial and technical support from countries like China, Israel, USA, Switzerland, etc., and from the United Nations, UN as well to improve the victims’ economic and social conditions.

“The recent recapturing of the towns of Dikwa and Gamboru Ngala from the insurgents, reports of unsuccessful Boko Haram attacks, and the rescue of some kidnapped persons from the den of the insurgents by the Nigerian Military are positive signals towards ending the insurgency,”the report stated.

In his recent address, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, reassured Nigerians that the Nigerian Army was determined to succeed in meeting up with the set deadline of defeating Boko Haram terrorists by the end of this year.

He said this during his operational visit to the troops battling Boko Haram Terrorists in the region. While addressing the troops, the COAS charged them to maintain vigilance, momentum and aggressive posture. He also urged them to apply all the principles of battle procedure they had learned during their training.

Buratai assured the troops that issues of their welfare are being taken seriously and will soon be addressed to enable them fight in the best of spirits. He reminded the troops that their actions are covered by Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011, and therefore stressed the need for them to abide and operate within the provision of the same Act.

Meanwhile the Spokesman of 7 Division of the Nigeria Army in Borno State, Col. Tukur Gusau, said most of the local governments overran by the Boko Haram are now under the control of the Nigerian Army.

According to him: “Dikwa was among the 22 local governments of Borno State which was occupied by Boko Haram but was alleged to have been liberated before the general election by the Chadian military.

“This is the first time we entered Dikwa and liberated the town from Boko Haram. It is true there was information to the effect that Dikwa was once liberated but not by Nigerian troops. But this time around, we have recaptured the town and killed 20 Boko Haram terrorists during the battle.

“The military would never recapture any town or community and then leave. We won’t allow Boko Haram to seize the town again, never again. It won’t happen.”

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