14 April 2014

Nigeria: Abuja Explosion - At Least 71 Dead, 124 Injured - Nigerian Police

Photo: Abubakar Yakubu/Daily Trust
Vehicles and motorcycles hit by the impact of the explosion at the Nyanya Motor-park, along Abuja-Keffi Expressway outside Abuja.

The Nigerian Police on Monday afternoon confirmed that at least 71 people died in the bomb explosion at a motor park in Nyanya, the outskirts of Abuja.

The police spokesperson, Frank Mba, confirmed this to journalists in Abuja.

"So far, we have a total of 71 persons dead and 124 others injured and they are all, receiving treatments at various hospitals in and around FCT metropolis," Mr. Mba said.

Estimates by witnesses and body count by our reporter at the scene indicate the casualty may go up as about 200 people are believed to have died from the blast.

During his visit to the blast scene and the hospitals, President Goodluck Jonathan appealed to the media to assist government in enlightening the public on security consciousness.

Mr. Jonathan was close to tears as he spoke at the blast site.

Some of the affected vehicles were seen littered around the park while the dead and the injured had been taken to hospitals.

Mr. Jonathan harped on the need for extra vigilance and for people to report suspicious movements in any part of the country to security agencies.

"You can see that I am here with Senate President, Senator David Mark. And the Chairman of PDP, Chief of Defence, service chiefs, National Security Adviser, and that the security agencies are also doing their best to handle the situation," Mr. Jonathan said.

"Let us first express our collective condolence to the family of those who lost their lives and also commend the security agencies for their quick response.

"It is not the number, let me appeal to our country men and women, for them to continue to work, very hard on this issue of Boko Haram," he added.

The president said government will do everything necessary to ensure that the country moves forward despite the activities of those who preferred to move the country backwards.

"We shall get over it. We want to appeal to our media to begin to come up with enlightenment programme for our people, to make citizens very aware of suspicious movement so that they can be reported promptly to security agencies," he said.

"Let us become more observant and monitor the movement of people so that we can reduce. We will do our best, the security agencies will continue to work hard to ensure that we get over this issue of Boko Haram."

Speaking on the casualties, the police spokesperson disclosed that those injured are currently receiving treatment at various hospitals around the Nigerian capital.

Mr. Mba said a total 16 luxurious buses were torched, while 24 others mainly belonging to individuals suffered damages in the blast that occurred at about 6:30 a.m.

He disclosed that security agencies were working with hospitals to create information centers for relatives to assist them in getting information on their loved ones.

"We promised you earlier on that we will continue to update you and it in that spirit that I want to update you as regards the casualty figures.

"In order to help families of the bereaved, the security agencies are working with hospitals encouraging most of the hospitals to open information centers that will help relatives, friends to get relevant information from those hospitals where the dead bodies are deposited and others receiving treatments," he said.

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