• Two soldiers, policeman die in Borno blast
• Reps want govt to check terrorism
• CAN, ANPP, APGA, others condemn bombing
IT was a moment of outrage and shock yesterday as the survivors of the bomb explosion in Kano that claimed several lives relived their ordeal. The casualty figure rose to 22 Tuesday.
Witnesses told the Agence France Presse (AFP) that they heard multiple blasts and saw wounded victims in bloodied clothes fleeing the area as authorities cordoned the scene.
“I was boarding the bus to Lagos when I heard a huge explosion,” Abdulaziz Baban-Lamma, a 47-year-old trader, told AFP from his hospital bed.
The blast left him with severe injuries to his abdomen and other survivors ran to assist him when they saw his condition, he said. He later underwent emergency surgery.
“May Allah curse whoever was behind the act,” he said.
Magawata Goje, 45, was selling dried meat at the station when the bomb went off.
“Something sharp hit me under my right ear,” he said.
“Blood gushed out and I was drenched in my blood.”
When he regained consciousness, “I could see many people burnt to death,” he said.
Emmanuel Bassey, a 37-year-old bus company employee with burns across his body, said the bombers slammed into one of the buses at high speed.
The bus station targeted on Monday primarily services passengers heading to the southern part of the country.
It was also attacked in January last year in a blast that wounded several people.
Authorities have not said who was behind the bombing and there has been no claim of responsibility, but it was similar to previous attacks by Boko Haram.
The worsening insecurity Tuesday, again, claimed the lives of two soldiers and a policeman in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
This development came a day after gunmen attacked three schools and killed three teachers in the same state.
Tuesday’s tragedy occurred when suspected terrorists bombed the patrol vehicle of the Joint Task Force (JTF) at the Roundabout of Kashim Ibrahim Way at noon, killing two soldiers, a policeman and injuring four soldiers.
The blast, according to an eyewitness, Aisami Yerima, hit the patrol vehicle of JTF while driving at the roundabout before other soldiers and policemen rushed to the scene to evacuate the victims.
Yerima, however, told The Guardian that he could not say whether the occupants were killed or not, but the blast ripped the vehicle into pieces, while passersby scampered for safety into various directions.
Five minutes after the blast, the entire area wherein lie First Bank, United Bank of Africa (UBA) and Union Bank, was cordoned by the JTF.
Vehicles and pedestrians were forced and directed by soldiers to take the Post Office Area and Government Reservation Area (GRA) roads of Maiduguri.
In a telephone interview, the spokesman of JTF, Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa, said that the blast was targeted at the patrol vehicle of JTF at First Bank Roundabout by noon Tuesday.
He said the casualties of the blast could not be ascertained as the details on death and injuries were yet to be collated from the scene of the blast.
Musa said: “As soon as we collated all the details of the blast casualties, the media will be communicated through their respective e-mails.”
The University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH), however, said that two bodies of soldiers and four injured ones were deposited at the hospital’s Accident and Emergency Unit (A&EU).
The UMTH A&EU attendant, who wants to remain anonymous, said: “The bodies of soldiers and injured ones were brought in two Hilux Patrol vehicles.”
And apparently expressing concern over the development, the House of Representatives yesterday urged the Federal Government to do everything within the confines of the law to end terrorism in the country.
In a resolution, the House mandated the Committees on Public Safety, Army, Defence and Police Affairs to engage the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) with a view to addressing the problem.
This followed the adoption of a motion introduced on the floor of the House by Ibrahim Olaifa who represents Oluyole Federal Constituency in Oyo State.
In the motion tagged “Need to end terrorism activities in Nigeria,” Olaifa lamented that several innocent Nigerians had been killed in the last three years due to the activities of Boko Haram, adding that “on Monday, over 20 people were killed in Kano.”
The lawmaker explained that “several conflicting details have been given as the reasons why the group decided to unleash terror on the Nigerian establishment and innocent Nigerians.
“The economy of the northern part of Nigeria, its education and other social welfare programmes, have nosedived significantly, further worsening the standard of living of the citizens.”
He said: “The pattern of operations of the group has remained mostly unpredictable despite huge investments in the nation’s security apparatus.
“The stakeholders are finding it difficult to agree on how to engage this group in order to end the situation.”
The Igbo think-tank, Aka Ikenga, has also condemned the attack in Kano.
In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National President, Chief Goddy Anayo Uwazurike, the group described the attack as “senseless and barbaric” massacre of innocent people whose only crime was that they decided to travel by bus.
Aka Ikenga urged all men and women of goodwill to rise up and condemn the “horrendous” crime.
Chief Victor Umeh of the World Ndigbo Youths Council International also lamented the violence.
In his reaction, the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, called on the Federal Government to arrest the sponsors of Jama’atul Ahlis Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal commonly called Boko Haram and the Islamic group, Jama’atu Ansaril Muslimina fi Sudan, better known as Ansaru, an al-Qaeda-aligned group.
He urged the Federal Government to liaise with the international community and obtain their expertise on how to deal with terrorism.
In a statement by his Special Assistant, Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Kenny Ashaka, the CAN president noted that the continuous attacks on Christians and churches in the northern part of Nigeria in recent times were signs of the intended extermination of Christians and Christianity from northern Nigeria.
Oritsejafor noted that the Federal Government could not just continue to condemn these heinous acts of the enemies of unity and agents of death without prosecuting those already arrested.
He said: “The CAN President believes that the suicide bombing of a Lagos-bound 59-seater luxury bus which killed 25 people by ‘those whose inhumanity and vicious behaviour terrifies Nigerians’, is utterly evil, tragic and condemnable. The unconstitutional suspension of the only female and Christian legislator in the Bauchi State House of Assembly on charges of opposition to the relocation of the headquarters of a local council is equally worrisome.
“The barbaric and sustained bomb and gun attacks on innocent Nigerians is the reason why we in CAN are calling on the Federal Government to support our call for the branding of the Boko Haram sect as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO). Those betraying others by working underground with enemies of the nation should also be fished out and dealt with in accordance with the laws of the land.”
While commiserating with the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the attack, Oritsejafor urged Nigerians to volunteer information to the various security agencies.
The leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) condemned the bombing. In a statement by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, the party described the attacks as “cruel”, saying they could not be justified under any guise.
He said the party was shocked by the attacks and had been deeply saddened over the manner in which Nigerians were being killed for no just cause.
Calling on those behind the attacks to have a rethink and realise that life is sacrosanct, the PDP said Nigerians must learn to live in harmony and eschew all acts of violence.
The party, however, urged Nigerians to be more vigilant even as it charged security agencies to double their efforts, especially in intelligence gathering, so as to forestall such attacks.
It commiserated with the families of the bereaved and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.
The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) yesterday condemned the bombing in Kano. The APGA described it as outrageous, barbaric and wicked.
The ANPP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Emma Eneukwu, noted that the wicked act of a few elements of terror had further pushed the country to the edge of anarchy.
Calling on the nation’s security agencies to leave no stone unturned in unraveling perpetrators of the heinous crime against humanity, the party noted that it was crucial that every necessary measure should be taken to defuse the prevalent atmosphere of hopelessness in the nation as precipitated by the terror attack.
APGA, in a statement from its National Youth Leader, Mr. Okpara Ferguson, expressed deep concern that Nigerians are being hacked down by terrorists on daily basis.
It stated: “We are deeply pained that thousands of innocent Nigerians have been killed in the recent past by Boko Haram suicide bombers taking away lives they did not create. We are further outraged that key elements in our society up North rather than help stamp out these social vermin continue to pander them by making suggestions that edify their heinous activities.
“The government is enjoined by the provisions of Section 14 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) to make security and welfare of the people its primary purpose. It is in this wise we note the firm statement and resolve by Mr. President on this issue of terrorism at the Town Hall meeting recently in Maiduguri, Borno State.
“We therefore fully support the resolve of the Federal Government not to give any quarter to these messengers of death, but to go all out and bring them to justice. They must have no safe haven and they must not be allowed any respite.
“We commiserate with the families of the deceased and pray to God Almighty to grant them the strength and fortitude to bear the loss of their loved ones. We also pray that God will grant those wounded in the attack speedy recovery.
“We urge security agents to fish out the perpetrators of this dastardly act and their sponsors, and bring them to book. Nigerians demand dividends of democracy not carnage.”
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