As Bauchi residents are beginning to settle down after a bomb attack that devastated the city, Ahmed Kaigama writes on how politicians across party lines have continued to visit them with their widow’s might to lessen their sufferings caused by the unfortunate incident.
Monday 22 December 2014 will ever remain a demoralizing day for People of Bauchi especially traders of ever-busy Central Market located in the city centre. These traders witnessed a bomb explusion which shock the market to its foundation with 17 people losing their lives and properties worth billions destroyed. The inferno that occurred as a result of the blast razed 70 shops.
While recounting on what happened on the ill-fated day, the chairman of Bauchi Central Market Association, Alhaji Adamu Musa Noma, told our correspondent that two men dressed in mobile police uniform and a lady came to the market Monday evening and bought boxes and Atamfa (Ankara) clothing materials and kept them in a shop.
According to Noma, one of the men went outside to make call, while the other detonated the bomb, saying that about 10 of his members lost their lives in the explosion.
He informed that about 70 shops were razed in the explosion, adding that goods worth billions of Naira were destroyed. He noted that only one sector, out of three sectors in the market, was affected by the bomb blast.
Noma stated that only on Monday when the bomb blast occurred, the security committee set up by the executive committee of the association to decongest the market was meeting as of the time of the blast.
He stated that, apart from decongesting the market, the committee was saddled with the responsibility of ensuring proper parking of vehicles around the market, adding that it was to ensure that certain vehicles were not allowed to park near the market.
These, according to Noma, were parts of security measures being put in place by the traders to ensure safety of lives and property in view of the security challenges in parts of the country.
The chairman expressed gratitude to the police, Army, Red Cross, men of the Bauchi State Fire Service, members of Islamic Aid Group, among others, for their prompt response to distress call and their efforts in ensuring that the fire that engulfed the market was put out.
The police in Bauchi State have confirmed seven people dead in the bomb blast, saying that 25 others sustained varying degrees of injures from the incident.
According to the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Haruna Mohammed, in a statement made available to journalists in Bauchi, three suspects were arrested for looting.
“So far, seven persons were confirmed dead, while 25 others sustained various degrees of injuries, out of which six have been treated and discharged and 19 others are responding to treatment,”
The police spokesman, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) said.
He, however, declared that normalcy had been restored by combined security forces, while patrols were being intensified within and outside the surrounding.
He further informed that investigation into the bomb explosion was ongoing to ascertain the cause of the explosion and level of damages to property.
An eyewitness, who identified himself as Mu’azu Musa, said that he saw charred bodies of victims as they were being evacuated from the scene of the blast.
Musa, who said he was an Okada rider and was by the roundabout near the market when the blast occurred, stated that he fell down from his motorcycle when he saw the charred bodies of the victims, adding that he lost consciousness as a result of this only to see himself in the hospital.
Victims were seen being evacuated from the scene by Red Cross officials to the Trauma Centre of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH).
Speaking with journalists at the hospital, the Deputy Chairman, Medical Advisory Council (CMAC) of the hospital in charge of clinical matters, Dr Saidu Abubakar Kadas, stated that the actual figure of the casualties could not be ascertained yet as victims were being brought in.
He, however, assured that the teaching hospital was in a better stead to handle the situation as most of its health workers had been mobilized to attend to the victims.
Also speaking, the chairman of the ATBUTH branch of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, Pharmacist Idris Ado, stated that the incident was unfortunate and regrettable.
According to him, the health workers who were currently on strike had been directed to report for work to take care of the victims.
Meanwhile, the Bauchi South Senatorial candidate under the platform of All Progressive Congress (APC) Alhaji Ali Wakili has donated one million naira (N1m) to victims of Monday bomb blast in Bauchi
Giving the donation through the Traders and Artisan Association of Bauchi central market Wakili described the incident as unfortunate saying only God will pay them back what they lost.
He said, “many are in the hospitals, some lost their properties and some are dead. May God give us peace it is unfortunate that this thing refuse to end. I am sad with this ugly incident”.
Wakili said the entire state and the country at large affected because it was a big market that was involved.
”We are sad and we will continue to pray for peace to reign in our country and the state especially as elections are at hand, may God grant them speedy recovery to the injured, the dead internal rest and those that lost their property many returns.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship candidate in Bauchi, Mohammad Auwal Jatau Also made a donation of the sum of N30 million to victims of last Monday bomb blast in Bauchi.
“The sum of N30 million is hereby donated by me to help persons that are seriously affected by last Monday central market blast”, Jatau said while sympathizing with victims today at the incident site in Bauchi
The Bauchi PDP gubernatorial candidate who vividly looked worried with the incident told the victims that perpetrators of the dastardly act will vigorously be pursued, apprehended and brought to book.
Alhaji Muhammad Auwal Jatau while describing life as a circle which starts with a birth and end in death, condoles families of those who lost their lives in the incident, and sympathized with victims now receiving treatments at hospital.
“I’m here to extend our heart-felt condolences to the families of those that lost their lives. It is barbaric and we will not condone it, may the souls of the departed rest in peace”, he said.
“To those of the victims who are nursing their wounds at the hospital, I tell you that we are with you, we love you and pray that Almighty Allah, His compassion should uplift you”
Jatau assured that if eventually elected as the Governor of Bauchi state, he will ensure that his administration will pursue such culprits, saying, “We will fight them with every piece of might we have, and Insha-Allah we will defeat them”.
In the same vain the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate, representing the people of Bauchi federal constituency, Hon Aminu Mohammed Danmaliki Bauchi has blamed incessant bomb explosion in the country on President Goodluck Jonathan.
He express his dismay over the type of leadership in the country, saying president Goodluck Jonathan has failed woefully in his leadership responsibilities which does not provide security of lives and properties
He lambasted the Presidency over the level of insecurity in the country, urging the Federal Government to halt the attacks.
Reps Candidate said the incident was a dangerous development, which should not be taken lightly by any responsible Nigerian leaders” he said the attack has added a dangerous dimension to a bad security situation in the country.
The All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, has described spate of insurgency as catastrophic on the citizens of Nigeria. Just as he blamed Federal Government for the spate bomb explosion in the country.
Buhari who spoke to newsmen in Bauchi through the Bauchi state Coordinator of Buhari Campaign Organization, Dr Danjuma Dabo shortly after he visited Bauchi Central Market, scene of the Monday evening blast and ATBU Teaching Hospital Bauchi, where the victims of the incident were admitted.
“insurgency is catastrophe on the citizens is sad and unfortunate, you see the explosion in the Bauchi central market had affected both citizens and the human, is really sympathetic, with the loss of lives and goods this is sad and touching” he said
The APC presidential Candidate has blamed FG for the spate of insecurity, socio-economic and political instability of the North East Sub- region.
He charged the Northern elite to call on the federal government to its responsibility of ensuring safety of lives and property of the people in the north east region.
“No nation can survive when there is spate of violence insecurity and poverty” Buhari stressed
General Buhari charged Traders and victims to take it as an act of God to also take it in good faith, he called on them to remain calm and look in to God, he pledged if voted into power he will bring an end to insurgency in the country.