16 April 2014

Nigeria: Abuja Bomb Blast - 'We Saw Our Brother Burning'

Photo: Leadership
Burnt-out busses after an attack at a bus station packed with morning commuters in Abuja

Forty-eight hours after the bomb blast at Nyanya motor park, an outskirts of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, the whereabouts of a 20‑year-old recharge card seller at the park, Isa Nuhu, is yet to be known despite the fact that one of the family members saw his body burning at the scene of the incident.

Nuhu, who family source said had just finished his secondary school and decided to help himself by selling recharge cards and repairing mobile phones at the park, left the brother's house at 6 a.m, his usual time of leaving for business.

The family source also said immediately the incident occurred, Nuhu's body was seen burning and one of the brothers made efforts to put off the fire but was stopped by security operatives who took over the scene, but up till yesterday evening, neither the boy nor his body had been seen.

Speaking to Vanguard at the Wuse General Hospital, yesterday, one of Nuhu's family members, Mr. Hamzar Umar, said they have been looking for their brother and had gone to all the hospitals where bodies of the dead and those who sustained injuries were taken to, yet they have not been able to see Nuhu.

We saw our brother burning

According to Umar, "Nuhu works at that particular place the bomb blast happened yesterday (Monday). We have been looking for the boy from hospital to hospital. We started from Asokoro yesterday (Monday), then went to Maitama and the National Hospital and we have come back to this hospital. Up till now, we have not seen him or his body.

"When this incident happened, one of his brothers rushed there and saw him on the ground, with one leg already burnt but as the brother tried to quench the fire, the security man at the scene did not allow him to remove him from the fire.

"When we came back, he was nowhere to be found. I don't know where they carried him to, whether he is dead or he is still alive. According to my brother, at the time he was trying to rescue him, he was already dying.

But you know somebody can be unconscious for three days, we don't know whether he is alive or not. He was 20 years old, he just finished secondary school from Kogi State but lives with his brothers in Nyanya."

I almost lost my two sons --Waziri

A father of two survivors of the blast, Chief Jezhi Yemida Waziri, who was at the bedside where one of his sons was admitted at the Wuse General Hospital, said he nearly lost his two sons from the blast and is now full of praises to God for the miracle of saving his sons.

Speaking with Vanguard, Chief Waziri said: "Two of my children were involved. I feel unhappy over it but at long last I really thank God because neither of them is dead.

"The only one that is in the hospital has an injury on his legs and he only needs stitches, he is here with the doctors at the Wuse General Hospital. I thank God he is able to talk and he is responding very well to treatment."

While advising the Federal Government to ensure the protection of Nigerians, he said that if government had allowed the mass transit buses to operate in FCT, there would have been no need for people to gather at a place to board the El‑Rufai buses where they met their untimely death.

He said: "Some of the victims had their body parts cut off, some of them were cut into two. It happened in my presence. In this Wuse Hospital, some of the dead ones were packed like sand or heap of yams inside a pick‑up van."

We can't see our member -- Pastor Emmanuel

"My name is Pastor Emmanuel, we are looking for a member of our church, Pillar of God Bible Ministry. We have been looking for him since yesterday. We were together on Sunday and in the morning when I heard about the bomb blast, I called his number but it wasn't going.

"Normally, he goes to work around 6:30 a.m and he worked at Niger Link Hotel.

"We have been to most of the hospitals and they showed us all the corpses but we didn't find him but we cannot conclude that he is dead now. We will still continue to search for him.

"There are many bodies we cannot recognise. One can see only the bodies and body parts but if we see the head we should be able to identify our friend. We believe we will still see him."

Rowland was the only graduate in his family --Family friend

The story of Rowland Bulus is pathetic indeed. His brother, Alexander, spent the whole of Monday and yesterday in search of the National Youth Service Corps member, the only graduate in his family.

His brother dropped out of school to help train him. Before he could apply his university degree to improve the lot of his family, the wicked hand of terrorists cut him down in his prime.

Alexander's friend spoke on his behalf, saying: "As at this afternoon (yesterday) we cannot even recognise some of the bodies. If the Federal Government had been proactive enough by embalming them or preserving them, it would have been very easy to identify the victims.

"His brother's name is Roland Bulus, a youth corps member with one of Federal Capital Territory agencies and he was supposed to resume work yesterday (Monday) to relieve somebody but when we tried to make contacts through his phones, it wasn't going.

"We started going round the hospitals. They showed us the list of the patients but we couldn't find his name. We even went round the wards in some of the hospitals, we also didn't find him.

"We are suspecting that he might be among the corpses here, this is our last point of call. We visited all the hospitals yesterday (Monday) and today (yesterday). We went to Federal Staff Hospital, Wuse General Hospital, Nyanya Hospital and then to National Hospital.

"At the Federal Hospital, among the pieces of bodies we saw was a leg that we suspected was his but we want to exhaust all the avenues before we go back to that same hospital to check if really that leg was for his brother's. When he saw it he said that could be his brother's leg. He looked at it and even picked it to have a closer look.

"He was with his brother at the Sure‑p bus and he bought a ticket but went to buy water and before he came back, the bomb went off. So he was sure that his brother was caught up in the bomb blast.

His brother left school to help train him

"His brother was the only university graduate in their family and the younger brother had to step out of school to enable him complete his university education so that as soon as he graduates they would be able to help the others.

"But, unfortunately he was supposed to have finished his service in June this year. It is a pathetic situation.

"As I speak, the father has been calling from home but he hasn't been able to tell him anything yet. In fact, he has not been able to pick his calls. What he wants to do is to identify the corpse of his brother first but since yesterday (Monday) we haven't seen his copse but definitely he was in the bus."

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