Three suicide bomb attacks on churches rocked Kaduna State yesterday, killing at least, 21 people and wounding about 100, officials said.
The attacks triggered retaliatory actions by Christian youths who dragged Muslims from their cars and killed them, officials and witnesses said.
The reprisal attacks left over 39 dead and more than 105 injured, The Tide learnt.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombings but Islamist group Boko Haram has often attacked church services in Nigeria.
“The violence stoked fears of wider sectarian conflict in Nigeria”, a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Africa’s top oil producer said while the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kano, called the bombings “a clear invitation to religious war”.
The first two blasts occurred within minutes of each other and targeted two churches in the city of Zaria, said Kaduna State Police Commissioner, Mohammed Abubakar Jinjiri.
Three churches were attacked this morning by suicide bombers in Kaduna. One went off at the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) church, Wusasa and another at the Christ the King Cathedral Catholic Church at No. 80, Yoruba Street, Sabon Gari, Zaria, just behind the Army Depot, Zaria where all Nigerian soldiers receive their basic training.
The third church, Shalom Church at Trikania close to Abuja Flyover and Textile Labour House, was hit by multiple explosions around 10:17am.
Our correspondent reports that the explosions occurred at ECWA Church, Wusasa, and CKC Church at Yoruba Road, Sabon-Gari, Zaria.
An eyewitness at CKC Church, Malam Bala Mati, said that the suspected suicide bombers rammed into the church premises in a ‘Golf IV’’ vehicle, defying orders by security officials at the gate to stop for a check.
He said that he saw about 13 bodies after the explosion.
At Wusasa, another eyewitness, Mr Johnson Maki, told newsmen that the bombers came in a Honda Accord (2008 model), hitting the security posts and knocking down the part of the church building.
Mr Lawal Umar, the Divisional Secretary of the Red Cross in Zaria, said that not less than 30 persons sustained varying degree of injuries in the suicide attack.
He said that nine injured persons were taken to St. Lukes Hospital, Wusasa, for treatment, while nine others were ferried to Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in the Shika neighbourhood of Zaria.
Also speaking, Alhaji Umar Ibrahim-Rabagaddama, the Chairman, Interim Management Committee of Zaria Local Government Council, told newsmen that one person died in the Wusasa explosion, while 45 people sustained injuries.
He, however, appealed to the people to remain calm and avoid spreading unnecessary rumours about the incident.
DSP Aminu Lawan, the Police Public Relations Officer in the Kaduna State Command, also confirmed the explosions, saying that policemen had been deployed to the areas.
A third blast hit a church in the city of Kaduna about half an hour later, Jinjiri said.
The second suicide car bombing was at Kings Catholic Church, killing 10 people, said Bishop of Zaria George Dogo, who was giving a service in the church when it was attacked. He corroborated Reverend Nathan Waziri’s earlier comment, confirming the death toll in the blasts.
Suicide bombers in a Toyota saloon then hit Shalom Church in Kaduna, killing six people. The military said the dead included an army sergeant.
Manan Janet, who was in the church, said she saw six bodies. “It was terrible. I’m traumatised,” she said.
Musa Ilela, an official from the National Emergency Management Agency in Kaduna State, said the death toll had risen to nearly 60.
“The injured and dead have been moved to the hospitals,” he said.
After the bombings, Christian youths blocked the highway leading to the southern end of Kaduna to Abuja, pulling Muslims out of cars and killing them, witnesses said.
“We had to return home when we saw (the Christian youths) attacking. I saw many bodies on the ground, but I don’t know how many were dead or just injured,” said Kaduna resident, Rafael Gwaza.
Witness Haruna Isah said up to 20 people might have been killed in reprisals at the road-block. “There were bodies everywhere on the ground,” he said.
Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Yakowa called for calm.
“In view of the incidents and the need to have complete normalcy and to forestall a further break down of law and order, the state government has imposed a 24-hour curfew in the whole state,” a statement from his office said.
The Islamists’ leader, Abubakar Shekau says attacks on Christians are in revenge for killings of Muslims in Nigeria’s volatile “Middle Belt”, where the largely Christian south and mostly Muslim north meet.
Earlier in the day, Nigerian Red Cross official, Andronicus Adeyemo, said the Zaria attacks killed two, including the bomber, and left 51 wounded.
The Kaduna attack claimed 10 more lives, he said, and wounded 29 people.
Jinjiri said security at the three churches prevented the suicide bombers from ramming explosive-laden cars into the buildings filled with worshippers.
Dr. Taylor Adeyemi, the acting Chief Medical Director of St. Luke’s hospital in Wusasa told our reporter that many victims, mostly children were brought into the hospital following the blasts.
Police arrested one of the bombers who survived, and Jinjiri declined to say who police suspected might be responsible.
More than 560 people have been killed in violence blamed on the Boko Haram this year alone, according to available statistics.
The Nigerian Red Cross said young people had started protesting in Kaduna, leading the government to impose a 24-hour curfew in a state deeply divided along religious lines.
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
- Sports4 days ago
Sports Minister Hails Anyanacho,Offiong
- Editorial4 days ago
Party Defections Taken Too Far
- Politics4 days ago
PDP’ll Participate In Anambra Guber Poll – Chieftain
- Opinion4 days ago
Growing Menace Of Campus Prostitution
- Politics4 days ago
INEC Commences Physical CVR In Rivers
- Politics4 days ago
2023: Group Insists On S’ South Presidency
- Nation4 days ago
Enugu Youths Hail Ugwuanyi’s Governance Style
- Sports4 days ago
Eguma Laments Rivers United’s Tight Fixtures