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Survivors of Nyanya blast tells their experience

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‘Mummy, mummy, don’t let me die’, the agonising cry of a 15-year-old boy, whose legs were shattered and holding on to his mother trailed the deafening bomb�explosion�reverberating through the Federal Capital City. A woman was lying face down without limbs while another who was surrounded by her children, struggled for life before giving up in their arms. �Several other corpses littered the ground in the midst of the injured, following the massive bomb blast that rocked the crowded Nyanya Bus Terminus, at 6.45 am yesterday. No less than 88 residents of the densely populated slum located at the suburb of the Federal Capital City were killed while over 200 sustained various degrees of injuries.

Some of the dead were burnt beyond recognition, while others were blown into pieces as only their severed parts were packed into bags by rescue workers. Over 40 vehicles were also destroyed.

I was on the queue to enter a bus


One of the victims admitted at the Wuse�General Hospital�who gave his name as Cosmas Ugwuanyi from Enugu State told Vanguard that he was on queue to enter the El-Rufai bus when the blast occurred. Though, Mr. Ugwuanyi’s case was not so critical, the blast affected his eardrum and he was having difficulties hearing what people were saying.

The blast removed my shirt, scattered my car, killed my four friends- survivor

A survivor of the blast who escaped unscathed, said his survival without a scratch was because of providence.The victim, who was still in shock as at the time he was responding to questions said he was grateful to God for being gracious to him.

Narrating what he witnessed, the victim who wouldn’t mention his name said:

�I went to Nyanya to pick�my friends. I was under the Nyanya Bridge to pick them, one person sat with me in the front, while the other three people sat at�the back. I had to enter the Park to pick them because the Task Force would not allow people to pick passengers under the Bridge.We all saw the commotion that was happening as a car drove into the park and the people were complaining about the driver. The last person entering my car shut the door and I tried to move�the car�and everything went blank. The�explosion�threw me far away and scattered my car while all the four people with me in�the car�died.I really can’t say what happened, I just saw myself here, they kept me on a wheel chair, but I got up to call my people.”

An eye�witness, Michael Chuks said:

��Our vehicle just left the park and we have not even left that junction close to the park when we heard loud noise, some people said it was a burst tyre but we knew that the noise was more than burst tyre so we parked and the next we saw were plenty of dead bodies on ground.
�The blast affected more than four el-Rufai buses already loaded with passengers. There were more than 500 people. Very soon now the government will tell us that two or three people died.”

Narrating his ordeal, a survivor, James Igwe said a driver drove into the park and parked in front of the already loaded high capacity buses and disappeared before the�explosion.
According to him:

�A vehicle came in and parked and the driver disappeared from the vehicle, there were many people inside all those long buses you are seeing now, this bomb exploded and everybody was running, some people were seriously injured and we were calling for help but nobody came, because some people were still unconscious and they were on the �ground.

How I cheated death �Chinenye
A food vendor who identified herself as Chinenye Emeka, was grateful to God for sparing her life as theexplosion�occurred immediately she stepped outside her shop and walked across the road to buy polythene bags with which to sell her snacks.
She, however, regretted that many other food vendors at the park died in the�explosion.
Her account:

�The vehicle just drove in at a point where two �El-Rufai” buses which were full of passengers were about moving while many passengers were on queue struggling to board other vehicles.
�I saw a red-coloured space wagon going inside the park as I was trying to cross the road back to where I kept my bread and other things which I sell but while waiting to make sure there was no traffic�on the road�before I crossed over, I heard a loud sound. I fell down but by the time I got up, there was thick smoke all over the place. I tried running but I couldn’t and when the smoke could clear a bit, I saw many people lying down dead while many vehicles were already on fire”.

Jeremiah Ofem, a civil servant had bruises but survivedDisplaying his bruised body to Vanguard, Ofem insisted:

��Those who planted the vehicle may have driven it to the place earlier and left. I believe they detonated the bomb through the use of a remote control as no one was inside the vehicle.”

How a local bitters saved my life
Though he was aware that�driving under the influence�of alcohol was a crime that could earn him either imprisonment or a fine if caught by law enforcement agents, Timothy Eze Okorie was grateful for yesterday’s decision to buy a bottle of Alomo, a local alcoholic bitters popular with artisans and commercial vehicle drivers across the country before beginning his job as a commercial bus driver.
Mr. Okorie who was visibly shaken said he could not explain why he took the decision to buy the bitters rather than go back to Masaka to bring back passengers to the bus terminus when the bomb blast took place.
According to him,

�‘I Left my House at about six�in the morning�to bring passengers from Masaka, Mararaba, One Man Village and Ado to the Nyanya bus Terminus where they will board El-Rufai bus to the city centre. I dropped the last passenger under the Nyanya Bridge and was supposed to enter the park to carry passengers back to Masaka. Strangely, I had this sudden and strong feeling to drink before beginning the day’s job. So rather than enter the park, I took the next turn, went round the bridge and headed towards Jukwoyi to buy a bottle of Alomo”.

That decision turned out to be his saving grace as less than three minutes after he left the bus park, a huge�explosion��occured.
What will I tell our parents, cries Francis Alozie

�My sister, Miriam Edozie Chinyere, left this early around 6.30�in the morning�to catch up with their staff bus which normally waits for them at Nyanya Bridge.
Unfortunately, when I heard about this bomb issue I tried calling her �but her number was not going through, all the two numbers were switched off. And it is not as if the battery was down because I was the one that charged the battery of the two phones for her. She is my cousin,�we live together�at Kurudu, she works at the Airport.
I went to Nyanya Hospital first and they said that only one female patient was kept there. They said they had�the list�where all female patients were compiled.
I tried to see the names and I did not see anywhere they listed names and here too I did not see any names I am just confused. I don’t know what to do. If our parents start calling now, what will I tell them?

I passed out � Abdullahi
One of the victims, who identified himself as Yaro Inusa Abdulahi, an Okada rider from Kano State, said, the blast occurred when he was trying to cross the road to see somebody when he heard a blast.
Abdulahi, who lives at national headquarters lodge, Karu, said:

��I heard a big blast and fainted, when I opened my eyes, I saw wounds all over my hands, legs and head. About five El-Rufai buses were loading at�the scene�of the incident.”

Another victim who spoke to our reporter, Daniel Job, who lives in Mararaba said:

��I came with my brother to board a bus to town, and because there was no motor from Mararaba to town, I decided to enter a bike from Maraba to Nyanya, so that we could board a bus to town. After buying the ticket at Nyanya motor park, I discovered that the first bus had got filled up and we were asked to enter the second one, on our way to enter the next bus, that was when I heard the bomb�explosion.
After the explosion, I discovered that I just had a little injury and started looking for my brother and sister, who were already inside the bus I missed.”

I came out of the car through the window- �Busayo
Another victim, Mr. Adeoye Busayo, 40 year-old �security consultant at a private security firm in Abuja, said he left his house around 6.00 am with �my Nissan sunny car with some people I wanted to give a lift.

�When we got to Nyanya around 6:30 am, there was a little traffic between Skakoma and the check point. I was about 30 to 40 meters to Nyanya park; all of a sudden, I heard a terrible blast, and there was dust everywhere, people were running helter skelter. Everybody was panicking, though the sound was very terrifying, after the first blast, all my windscreen and side glasses were already shattered because of the vibration.
�Then I heard another blast. This time, I just heard a terrible noise at the roof of my car; I managed to escape through the window because the door could not open. I over-heard the people in my car shouting help, help and blood was gushing out of their bodies.

�At this point, the weather became dark because there was durst everywhere. We started running and I saw a lady fail down from my car after struggling to get out of the car through the back glass and fire from the car at my back caught her.
�Everybody behind me all left their cars and ran �away, instead of people running for safety, because you could neither see your back nor your front, they ran to where the fire was raging because it was only that direction of the fire that �was a little bit illuminated, that was what deceived a lot of people.”

Abdul Isiaka, a welder at Golden Club company in Nyanya, said:

�We had been at the garage since 6 am and when we could not enter the first bus, we decided to enter the second bus, in the process of entering, all of a sudden, I saw smoke under the El-Rufai bus and we started running, after running to a distance, the bomb exploded, and trying to cross to the other side of the road, another one exploded, that was how I got injured.
�It did not take too long before the rescue team came, in fact I went to them because I was crying for help,” said the 23 year old Mararaba resident.

I just found my self on the ground- Sake
Another victim, Anquer Sake, 40, a public servant in Asokoro, who lives in Orozo area said:

�I got to Nyanya park, got my ticket and queued, I just found myself on the ground, I did not know how I was brought here at Asokoro hospital. I just did my x-ray, waiting for the result because I got an injury on my head.

The worst hit
The worst hit were inter-state commuters going to the Northern states of Benue, Bauchi, Nassarawa, Gombe, Tarraba, as well as, workers leaving the park to the city centre.Others were: �Petty traders, food vendors, Okada riders, tea brewers popularly called Mai-Shai and vehicles conveying passengers to various locations within and outside the FCT.

Mr Romanus Ugwu, an Abuja-based journalist, resident at Nyanya, said that he ran to the scene on hearing the blast.

Ugwu said what he saw could be best described as a �gory sight” because many people were burning in some cars and were calling for help that never came to them while some were on the ground, helpless without limbs.
�You have to be hard hearted to look at these things. I saw a woman lying face down without limbs while one, who was surrounded by her children, struggled for life and gave up in their arms.
�These attackers appear to be more proactive than our rescue organisations and security agencies because so many lives would have been saved if help had come in time.’’

Ugwu said he counted many bodies littered on the ground in the park, but could not say if all of them were dead.

Mr Femi Lawal, a survivor of the blast who could not contain his joy and gratitude to God for sparing him, said he had dropped from one of the green buses from One-man Village and was heading to the park when the blast went off.

Lawal said he fell and was dazed momentarily before realising what had happened.
He said that he heard a loud bang, which nearly blinded him, and saw a thick smoke while people ran in confusion.
The 32-year old man, who was apparently wounded on the wrist and neck, said �it is a day I will live to remember”.
A survivor, Prince Igwe, however, said a vehicle was driven into the park and parked in front of the already loaded high capacity buses.
�The driver hurriedly parked and disappeared shortly after the explosion went off. I was inside one of the buses; I struggled to come out.

– Vanguard


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