The sad story told of how late 24-year old girl, Aliyu Laide, alongside 18 others died in the May Day bomb explosion at Nyanya motor park, just a mere step away from Abuja city, is no doubt a sad reminder that the threat of terrorism has become more potent than ever, even in the domain of the nation’s capital.
Late 24-year old girl daughter of one Aliyu Danyaro, was in a vehicle bound for Abuja, from her school in Bauchi State, to meet her farther in the city, to spend the May Day holiday, and return back to school, but as she alighted from the bus at the garage at Nyanya, she was caught up in the attack which occurred just few feet apart from the scene of the April 14 explosion, in the same area.
“She called me that she was on the way coming, that’s why I sent a mechanic (Engineer Abbas) and another person, to pick her at park, but while approaching the park, and upon calling her on the phone, to find out where she was waiting for her to be picked up, but when she tried to pick the phone, to answer the call, that was the time bomb blast blew her off balance.
“And I was told that when they saw her on the ground badly injured, but was still breathing, and rushed to carry her to safety, but the police and Army stopped them from doing so, and she gave up the ghost before the emergency rescue team arrive the scene”, narrates late Laide’s father, who was seen at the Asokoro Morgue, to reclaim her corpse for burial. He was still visibly in shock and despair mood over his daughter’s brutal killing. He was still visibly in shock and despair mood over his daughter’s brutal killing.
However, according to a victim, Chijoke Njoku, who sustained a minor cut on his head during the May Day blast, he was still in shock how he escaped death, as he was very close to one of the cars that were damaged in the blast.
Njoku, who deals in Ladies wears, and owns a shop at Karu market, but resides at Kabusa village, in the Territory, said after the blast, he lost consciousness, and when he regained conscious, he found out that he was bleeding from the head, so rushed himself to the hospital for treatment.
“I was buying recharge card from a mallam (kiosk) when the bomb went Ioff, and the man felled down I died immediately, but I was lucky to only sustain a cut on my head. I was baking the road and facing the man, but immediately I heard the loud sound I bent down and lost consciousness.
“But upon my recovery from unconsciousness minutes later, I saw that the mallam (the recharge card dealer) is dead, so I quickly collected the change he was supposed to give me and pick race for safety”, he recalled.
On whether there was panic in the area prior to the blast, Njoku said: “There was no panic before the explosion, as I was standing very close to a car near where the incident happened. Nobody knew that such a thing would happen, because I knew I would have dodged. Everybody was busy-the touts were there loading and shouting Area 1 and other places when the explosion occurred.
“When I saw the bomb laden golf car was empty, which was parked very close to where I was, nothing suspicious occurred to me- that there could be a reoccurrence of April 14 incident, because every other vehicle were parked and loading as well as some were calling for a drop, so I thought that it may be that the driver was soliciting for passengers”, Njoku recalls.
However, the devastating, but unsurprising double car bomb explosions within the space of about three weeks, in Nyanya, a suburb of the FCT, like never before, appears to have intensified anger and despair that trailed the deadliest assault on Abuja, the nation’s capital.
This is because, the double blasts are coming at a time when most people especially FCT residents were thinking that the lingering insurgency and bombings have been confined to the north eastern part of the country.
With the area having been subjected to a gruesome and frustrating security checks, following the first attack on April 14, criticisms have kept asking how the traffic gridlock would stop another attack in the area, therefore the fresh attack on May Day (last Thursday night) appears to have confirm people’s fears.
In the first incident which occurred on April 14 at the Nyanya High Capacity Bus Terminal, police at the time had confirmed 76 deaths and more than 150 injured and no fewer than 25 vehicles destroyed.
Consequently, the military mounted security checkpoint along the every busy road, which many opined that given the situation, whenever the army creates gridlock, they are giving the terrorists an easy opportunity to unleash mayhem on the area, with hundreds of cars on the road, by simply triggering off something in the middle of the gridlock.
It would be recalled that the second blast, at about 8 p.m. last Thursday, the day Nigeria workers joined their counterparts around the world to celebrate this year’s May Day, which officials said claimed 19 lives and injured 60 persons, receiving treatment in various hospitals, was the second in the area in less than three weeks.
As expected, the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, who condemned the attacks, has appealed to relatives of the dead to come forward to claim the corpses.
Mohammed made the appeal at the weekend, after visiting four FCT General Hospitals, where some of the corpses were kept and the injured victims were receiving treatment.
The minister, who visited the Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse and Gwarinpa hospitals, said the morgues had been overstretched and the victims’ relatives had not claimed any of their corpses for burial.
“The FCT Administration has agreed with the police to release the corpses to the victims’ relations, because the morgues are overstretched. They need to claim them with full evidence.
“I have directed the FCT Health Secretariat, to release ambulances to carry the corpses to various destinations where they will be buried,’’ he said.
According to details of official casualties figures obtained from the FCT- Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 34 injured, 10 dead were admitted at the Asokoro Hospital, including six already been discharged.
At Maitama General Hospital; there is one injured person, and no death recorded; Wuse General Hospital- one injured person and three dead; whereas National Hospital has 3 injured, 6 dead
Others include: Federal staff Hospital- 6 injured, no death; Nyanya General Hospital- 4 injured, no death and 6 persons discharged; Gwagwalada Teaching Hospital- 1 injured, no death; Customs hospital, Karu; 4 injured, no death; Mararaba Medical Centre- 1 injured, no death; Paf-Private hospital- 5 injured, no death.
On his part, the Secretary, FCT Health Secretariat, Dr Ademola Onakomaiya, who had confirmed that 66 persons were injured while 20 were confirmed dead in the wake of blast, said 42 of the 66 persons had been discharged, while four others left against medical advice, claiming that they were not residing in the FCT.
Onakomaiya adds: “Only 20 persons are currently receiving treatment.’’
He however called on the Media to sensitize FCT residents to donate blood for the treatment of the injured, as well as be safety conscious, and refrain from crowded places, as these are difficult times.
Similarly, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the FCT- Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Josy Mudashiru, said: “We want people to come forward to donate blood, to those that are receiving treatment. It’s quite an unfortunate incident, and I want all of us to come together.
“This is not a time to trade blames, but a time to come together, and see how this thing can be a thing of the past. As emergency is not a one man show- when you have something like this; we all come together, to work as one.”
She said that in addition to providing medical treatment for the injured persons, FEMA officials are visiting and counseling them and relatives of the dead, especially those that are traumatised, to make sure that they recover speedily from it.
Nevertheless, the latest bombing, has defiled assurances by both President Goodluck Jonathan, and FCT minister, to beef security at public places especially motor parks in the territory, after the April 14 deadly attack in the area.
With the second attack, in the same area, it therefore beats many crazy that what happened barely three weeks ago could reoccur almost exactly at the same spot, the first happened.
As a way out, the FCT minister, however disclosed that President Jonathan had ordered the FCT Administration (FCTA) to build standard motor parks in the territory,
Consequently, he said, he has already issued a seven-day ultimatum to the FCT Task Force to clear all the debris at the scene of the bomb blast.
He also gave a three-day ultimatum to the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to get a conducive environment for the relocation of the park.
“I am giving seven days to the FCT Task Force to clear all the blast debris, second-hand vehicles and traders away from the Nyanya corridor. The FCDA will provide alternative place for the car dealers.
“I am happy that the Village Head of Nyanya has offered his support to point at houses whose owners had been compensated by the FCTA for demolition.
“The FCTA will no longer build parks by the roadside again,’’ he said.
In the meantime, the Chief of Nyanya, Malam Haruna Shaibu, while commenting on the development, advised that all areas earmarked for demolition should be removed to enable government dualise the road.
“Government has marked from the roadside to Nyanya Area `C’ and Gwagwalape for demolition.
“The General Hospital is also affected and all these affected areas should be compensated before demolishing them,’’ he said.
For now, the reality is that victims and residents alike are being subjected to re-echoing and spreading tales of anger and anxiety that continue to trail the nature of the double blasts, which only serves as a mirror of disaffection most Nigerians even those residing in the nation’s capital, are now feeling about security situation in the country.