Daily Trust (Abuja)

15 December 2012

Nigeria: 20 Months After, We're Still Living With Bullets - Victims of Kaduna Post - Election Riots

Kaduna — Twenty months after the post-election riots that trailed the 2011 April presidential election in Kaduna State, many victims of the violence said they are still living with bullets.

Abdullahi Ahmed was until the post -election riot in Kaduna State the Secretary of Okada Riders Association in Zonkwa in southern part of the state. He said he was shot thrice by his friend, while he was trying to run away from the area when the post-election riot broke out.

"My childhood friend who was my best man during my wedding was the one who shot me. He shot me when we were running from the area. In fact, I was inside police van when he shot me on the buttock. I saw him before he pulled the trigger," he told Weekly Trust at the Kaduna Muslim Pilgrims transit camp where he and many others are still seeking refuge.

According him, "when the clash started, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in- charge of the area came with the van and asked us into it so he can take us to a safe location. It was while we were in the vehicle that my friend shot me after identifying me."

He said after his friend shot him, he slumped and fell on other persons in the van, adding that "many thought I've died, but when I was taken to the hospital, I regained consciousness and since then I have been living with the bullets".

He said more than one year after he was shot, two of the three bullets that penetrated him were removed at the 44 Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna.

"I spent all my money on the removal of the bullets. So, far I have spent over N300,000 and yet I'm still carrying a bullet in me. I can no longer walk freely and sit well, because of the bullet. If I walk for 10 minutes, I will not sleep at night, because of the pain that will follow it.

"Yes I'm one of the beneficiaries of the gesture of Alhaji Aliko Dangote for the victims of post -election riot, but believe me, I spent all the N100,000 I got from him on the removal of the bullets. By 29th of this month, I will be going to 44 Hospital for the removal of the last bullet," he added.

He recalled that the Kaduna State government only footed their medical bills shortly after the crisis, but that they are individually seeing to their medical needs now.

"I have forgiven my friend who shot me, because I belief it is the will of Allah but I'm appealing to the Kaduna State government to a have rethink towards our plight by coming to our aid," he pleaded.

The case of Yahaya Abba, 66, was not too different from that of Ahmed. He said he still carrying two bullets in him.

"I have been to five different hospitals. They have removed many but the x-ray is showing that I still have two bullets in me, precisely in my buttock. They said the bullets in me cannot be removed, because they have penetrated too deep.

"At first I was feeling the pain of the bullet in me, but now it has become part of body. Except for the psychological trauma, I'm living like any other persons even with the bullets," he said.

Unlike Ahmed, he said he spent the money he got from Dangote to secure two rooms apartment in Malali.

" Yes I got the money but I have returned to the camp because my house rent has expired and I don't have anywhere to go," he said.

At the camp, according to Abba, over 50 persons are still nursing gunshot injuries they sustained from the post-election riot.

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