Nigerians are still in shock over the deadly Abuja bomb blast that rocked the Nyanya motor park, located at the suburbs of the nation’s capital, killing over 70 people while about 124 others were seriously injured.
Eyewitnesses however, claim that the number of casualties are far beyond the official figure given.
It was also gathered that the bomb was planted by a man who drove a red Volkswagen space bus into the premises of the big capacity bus terminus popularly called El Rufai Buses and parked in front of two of the buses which were loaded with passengers and almost moving to the city centre.
Upon protest from drivers of the buses that he was obstructing their exit, the driver who allegedly came with four other passengers reportedly said he was going to get some lower denominations of money to settle his ‘passengers’.
It was learnt that just about five minutes after the driver and the passengers left the Volkswagen bus, it exploded, killing everyone near it.
Some of the survivors recounted their ordeal to VANGUARD, giving their own account of what happened:
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.”
As he turned round, some of his relatives arrived the hospital, jubilated with him, but the medical personnel took him in for further medical investigations.
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.
Jeremiah Ofem, a civil servant had bruises but survived
Displaying 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.”
Epuele was hit from a distance
One of the injured at the Nyanya General Hospital, Michael Epuele, who said he was a long distance driver at a near-by motor park, wondered how he was hit. He said he was hit even when he was many metres away from the point of explosion.
Epuele claimed that when he and others were being evacuated from the scene, he saw a big hole created following the blast. “I believe the blast was buried in the ground, maybe in the night, else, how come there was a very big hole at the scene,” he questioned.
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 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.