Friday, 27 June 2014

Abuja Blast Victims Recount Ordeal

Some of the hospitalised victims of the Emab Plaza explosion in Abuja last Wednesday have recounted their experience, while thanking God for sparing their lives.

The victims, who spoke with a Punch correspondent at the Maitama District Hospital, were students, a fashion designer and a vendor. They gave their names as – Donald Tyokasi, Sulaiman Ademola, Junaid Taofeek Olatunji and Michael Ojeh. Ojeh’s mother, who was also in the hospital, said the whereabouts of her husband who was at the scene of the blast were still unknown as of 5pm on Thursday.
Bomber pretended to be drunk – Tyokasi
Tyokasi, a 22-year-old student of the National Open University of Nigeria, said:

“I am studying Business Entrepreneurship and Management. On that fateful day, I just crossed over to buy corn because I was a bit hungry. I bought the corn but when I turned
back, I saw the  man (bomber) driving a Toyota Sienna and  trying to get into the plaza through the exit gate. The security men told him to go back and follow the right way but he was behaving as if he was drunk.
Within seconds after I left that point, I heard a big bang and found myself on the ground. My right leg was affected. Presently, I can’t stand with it.
 I saw corpses everywhere – Ademola
Twenty four –year-old Ademola, who is a fashion designer, also said the bomber insisted on going into the Plaza through the exit gate. He added:
“When he (bomber) was challenged by the security men at the exit gate, he insisted on going ahead. As he bent his head towards the Sienna that he was driving,   I told my friend that we should get away from there.
Within a few seconds, there was an explosion. Many people died and that is why I give thanks to Almighty God. I saw many corpses on the ground. Heads, hands and legs littered   everywhere.
 I thought my head was blown off  – Olatunji
Olatunji, a student of Biology/Integrated Science at the Federal College of Education, Kontangora, Niger State, said he arrived in Abuja from Oyo State on Wednesday only to be welcomed by   the blast.
He said:
“I came from Oyo State yesterday (Wednesday) to hustle  and make some money for my school fees before the end of the strike by Polytechnics and colleges of education   workers.
As a casual staff with Glo, I normally get sim cards to sell and make some money. The incident happened when we were going to the mosque to observe the 4pm prayer. On our way, we saw some people arguing and they didn’t allow a car to enter   the plaza.
As the argument continued, I heard an explosion and immediately, I saw human flesh and bones littering everywhere.   I was confused and I didn't know what I was doing again. I thought   my head had been blown off by the blast. I touched my head while on the ground and realized that it was there. I stood up and was looking for help, but help didn’t come immediately.
                      L-R: Sulaiman Ademola, Donald Tyokasi, Junaid Olatunji
The bomber bought newspaper from me – Michael Ojeh
Nineteen -year-old Ojeh said the bomber first bought a newspaper from him and asked irrelevant questions before leaving to enter his vehicle.
“One man wearing caftan came to buy a newspaper from me and was asking me irrelevant questions. Even when I wanted to give him his change, he wasn’t ready to collect it. He kept asking me irrelevant questions. If I answer him, he would laugh and ask another question. Afterwards, he left and entered his vehicle close to the exit gate of the plaza. It was not long after he left that  there was an explosion and I saw myself on the road before the police came .”
I’m still searching for my husband – Uche Ojeh
Mrs Ojeh, who is Michael's mother, said she was still searching for her husband, Rufus.
She said:
“My husband   left home around 5 am on Thursday.   My son, Michael   helps someone to sell newspapers by the plaza. I have seen my son but I have not seen my husband. My son told me he saw his father as he went to pick a passenger. He gave Michael some money and said after dropping off the passenger, he would   go and watch the Nigeria- Argentina World Cup   match   at home.
He wanted Michael to follow him but the boy said no. Michael said a man who came to buy newspaper was using delay tactics by asking him questions and immediately he (bomber) left, the bomb exploded. The blood of the bomber was all over my son’s   body. As I talk to you now, I don’t know where my husband is. We are still searching for him.
Meanwhile, Malam Suleiman Bisalla, Managing Editor (Northern Operations) of the New Telegraph also died in the Abuja bomb blast and his remains were laid to rest yesterday in Abuja according to Islamic rites. The interment took place at the Gudu Cemetry amidst prayers and encomiums.

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