- Category: Society
- Published on Saturday, 02 October 2010 09:16
- Written by Admin
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Survivors relive experience (The Nation)
TWENTY-one year- old Kura Mohammed, an indigene of Safana in Katsina State, struggles to survive by selling chewing gum and kolanut. He was on his way to the Eagle Square with his wares on Friday when a sudden explosion lifted him up and he later woke up with pains in a vehicle bound for Wuse General Hospital within Abuja.
"The noise was too shocking and very sudden; I did not see any bomb, I just knew that I was forcefully thrown away by a force and I woke up in a taxi," Kura told The Nation.
Like several of the 11 injured persons brought to the Accident and Emergencies Ward at Wuse General Hospital, Kura, a survivor attributed his narrow escape from death to destiny and the hand of God.
Like five other survivors who had wounds in various parts of their bodies, Kura had just received an injection and dressing for wounds on his shoulder, thighs and arms.
When our correspondent visited the hospital, a limping police sergeant with a name tag bearing Kabir Jafaru, was helped in by his colleagues in uniform and one of them held the intravenous fluid connected to the right arm of the wounded and disoriented policeman.
One Ifeanyi Ezenwane, an operative of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), was said to have been severely affected and family members said pieces of iron objects were still being picked out of his body by medical personnel.
A young pregnant lady who may be his wife sobbed continuously outside the ward.
"Ifeanyi’s legs, stomach, neck and hands were seriously affected and he appeared to be losing too much blood," a member of staff of the hospital said.
Another victim, Chike Egwuatu from Anambra State, who said he is a friend of Ifeanyi, stated that he and another friend had just parked their car near the Izon-Warri (Bayelsa House) close to the Federal Ministry of Justice, near the Eagle Square when the explosions happened.
According to Chike, tiny pieces of metal hit several persons around the crowded area, while he and others who were taken to the General Hospital in Maitama area of Abuja, sustained injuries on their heads as a result of the metal pieces.
Another victim, 21-year-old Joshua Loksha, who hails from Gombe State, said he had just seen men of the Fire Brigade pouring water on the scene of an initial explosion when he felt the impact of another sudden explosion.
"We were not close to the second explosion, but it lifted several of us into the air and I lost consciousness till we were brought to the hospital. I do not know the number of persons brought to the hospital, but I am aware that many have died while pieces of iron were removed from my neck and left hand," he said.
At the Wuse and Maitama hospitals, it was not possible to ascertain the number of victims but in reaction to victims’ complaints that they were only being given scanty treatment, a medical doctor at the Wuse General Hospital said panic and anxiety are making people to draw wrong conclusions.
" We had been told to prepare for any possible emergency long before the Independence Day ceremony. Some of us had been on duty since last night and at least 11 victims, including the policeman you just saw, had received treatment this morning.
"The complaints cannot be justified; some do not realise that the first thing is to close up victims’ wounds and give them medication. It is only afterwards that you can do things like x-ray and other additional treatment," he said.
One of the victims, Mayowa Adeniran, an unemployed graduate, said he got hit on his ear by an object he could not describe. He was on his way to the Millennium Park for a church event before he heard something like an explosion.
"We were going for our church event at the Millennium Park with some of our members. The next thing after the sound, I just had a hit on my ear and I fell down. Before I realised what was happening, there was pain all over me, but luckily, the ambulance arrived and I found myself here."
He said but for the swift response of the medical team to the scene of the accident, the casualty would have been greater than this.
At the Maitama General Hospital, several victims were seen in different states of pain. Some were badly injured while a fruit seller who called himself Sani said he was just lucky.
Also, Gabriel Anku, a self-employed youth, who narrowly escaped the explosion, said no fewer than 18 people might have died from the explosion.
"When I heard the bomb blast, I stopped. I was about alighting from my vehicle. Thank God I was a bit far away. The people that were closer to the scene came out and rushed to the point where the thing happened. All of a sudden before I came down from the vehicle to meet them, I heard another bomb blast again that was so loud that it threw people out from this place down to the other side. Then I quickly ran back to my vehicle, reversed from that place and followed this way out. It is just a minor damage I have on my vehicle.
"I cannot give you a precise figure, but the people that died here will be more than 18."
Three Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) officers, a police constable, an official of the State Security Service (SSS) and pure (sachet) water hawkers were victims of the explosion where over 50 private and commercial vehicles were damaged.
A principal nurse at Maitama Hospital said six persons were on admission.
One person, he said, was confirmed dead on arrival while two died during treatment.
"Six persons were rushed here. After a few minutes, there were numerous casualties being rushed to the hospital which we cannot accommodate. We had to tell them to go to Asokoro, Wuse and National Hospital.
He added that no fewer than 15 were treated and discharged after treatment.
"At present, six are on admission, there were four that their condition was critical and we don't have the facility to treat them, so we referred them to National Hospital".
The Acting Director General of the National Emergency and Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Charles Agbo, said it was early to give information on the cause of the incident.
He disclosed that the agency would foot the bill for the immediate treatment of the victims
"The thing bury for ground, the first one na moto match am and e burn finish. The second one na somebody go pee and match am. Na sell I dey sell my fruit o."
Bombings affected my head and ears – Miguel Julien, eyewitness (Punch)
It appears that you are waiting for somebody here?
My colleague is one of those receiving treatment in the hospital.
Your colleague? What is his name?
He is Raul Carbonell?
Was he involved in the bomb blast?
Yes. He was injured on the knee and he is being treated inside.
So you witnessed the explosion?
Yes. I was there with my colleague. We were only a little away from where the bombs exploded from the car.
Who are you and why were you there?
We are balloon pilots. Three of us were brought in from Spain to fly the giant balloons for the anniversary celebration. We flew the three giant balloons for the anniversary.
Do you live in the country?
No. We came in from Spain to fly the balloons. We came on Sept. 16.
Where are you staying? Are you staying at the Transcorp Hilton?
No. We are staying in Maitama. We are staying with our boss who brought us to the country?
What is his name?
His name is Ademola Ifabiti.
There is blood on your arm. Were you also injured by the explosion?
Yes. But it is very little as you can see. The explosion affected my head and my ears. I have a pain in the head. But, it is my colleague that sustained injury on his knee. I think he has a metal in his knee. He is being treated inside.
So why are you not close to where he is being treated?
No. It is because I don’t want to be close to cars and people.
How do you mean you don’t want to be near cars?
You know that the explosions are coming from cars. The first explosion occurred. It did not injure many people. When people heard the loud bang and they were rushing to the scene, the second car bomb exploded. It was the second one that affected many people.