A victim of the Emab Plaza bomb blast in Abuja, Solomon Alli, on Friday narrated to Saturday Independent at Maitama General Hospital, how a customer who bought a recharge card from him and paid with N500 note saved his life.
“A lady came to buy recharge card of N100 from me and paid me with N500 and I went to look for change. Before I came back the bomb had already exploded and she died at my desk.
“When the bomb exploded, it threw me up and landed me on the ground.
“When the lady bought the recharge card of N100 and gave me N500, I was angry with her and asked her why she bought only 100 recharge card and paid with N500.
“I then went to one woman we call Mama Mary who sells banana to ask her for change and when she was about to give me the change, the bomb exploded and she died immediately.
“I had some cuts on my leg and that is what I am being treated for. I could not sleep yesterday (Thursday) because of pains on the leg.
“Even though I was angry with that lady that bought the N100 recharge card and paid with N500, God used her to save my life because assuming I was at my desk when the bomb exploded, I would have died just the way she died when she was waiting for me to bring her change.
“Sometimes things happen that we do not understand. Assuming that lady gave me N100 and collected her recharge card and left, who knows, I could not have been alive now.
“I thank God that I only sustained injury and I am still alive.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, has expressed satisfaction with the quality of care the bomb blast victims have been receiving.
He commended the health workers when he visited the patients at Maitama, Wuse, National Hospital and Asokoro General Hospital on Friday.
“The quality of health care is good and I am happy,” he said. “We still have six patients who are still receiving treatment at the National Hospital, one is very critical in the intensive care unit.
“As we know, all together, we have 21 deaths that include the two that died yesterday here. One from 90 percent burn. It is always very difficult to manage such cases. It is not too many persons in the world that can survive 90 per cent burns. The second was severe multiple organ injury apart from the burns. He was operated on arrival, but he could not make it.
“The quality of health care is standard. Of course the National Hospital is usually where we take the most serious cases to because of their facilities and their expertise.
“We have only one patient in Wuse now when we visited. Most of them have either been discharged or referred to other hospitals.
“There are 10 patients in Maitama. Some have been treated and discharged while some have been referred.”
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday explained how his administration has been deploying resources into the efforts to safely bring back the Chibok schoolgirls, abducted by Boko Haram more than two months ago, to their families.
He also pointed out that his apparent silence on the details of security efforts aimed at rescuing the girls should not be misconstrued as weakness or inactivity as it was actually a deliberate move to avoid jeopardising ongoing operations.
Jonathan bared his mind on these issues in an article published by the Washington Post newspaper in the United States of America.
He stressed that the federal government would spare no resources at freeing the girls and check insurgency in the country.
“I have had to remain quiet about the continuing efforts by Nigeria’s military, police and investigators to find the girls kidnapped in April from the town of Chibok by the terrorist group, Boko Haram.
“I am deeply concerned, however, that my silence as we work to accomplish the task at hand is being misused by partisan critics to suggest inaction or even weakness. My silence has been necessary to avoid compromising the details of our investigation.
“But let me state this unequivocally: My government and our security and intelligence services have spared no resources, have not stopped and will not stop until the girls are returned home and the thugs who took them are brought to justice.
“On my orders, our forces have aggressively sought these killers in the forests of northern Borno State, where they are based. They are fully committed to defending the integrity of their country.
“My heart aches for the missing children and their families. I am a parent myself, and I know how awfully this must hurt. Nothing is more important to me than finding and rescuing our girls,” he said.
He went further to point out that “the abduction of our children cannot be seen as an isolated event. Terrorism knows no borders”.
He further recalled that earlier in the month, Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Britain and the United States established an External Intelligence Response Unit to share security information on such threats in West Africa.
He canvassed that such effort be built upon to establish an enduring, worldwide commitment to destroying terrorism and those who finance or provide safe haven to terrorists.
The President promised that in September, he would urge the United Nations General Assembly “to establish a U.N.-coordinated system for sharing intelligence and, if necessary, special forces and law enforcement to confront terrorism wherever it occurs.
“In Nigeria, there are political, religious and ethnic cleavages to overcome if we are to defeat Boko Haram. We need greater understanding and outreach between Muslims and Christians.
“We also know that, as it seeks to recruit the gullible, Boko Haram exploits the economic disparities that remain a problem in our country. We are addressing these challenges through such steps as bringing stakeholders together and creating a Safe Schools Initiative, a Victims’ Support Fund and a Presidential Economic Recovery Programme for northeastern Nigeria.
“We are also committed to ridding our country of corruption and safeguarding human and civil rights and the rule of law.
“Something positive can come out of the situation in Nigeria: most important, the return of the Chibok girls, but also new international cooperation to deny havens to terrorists and destroy their organisations wherever they are — whether in the forests of Nigeria, on the streets of New York or sanctuaries in Iraq or Pakistan.
“Those who value humanity, civilisation and the innocence of children can do no less,” he declared.