The death toll from the twin bomb explosions that rocked Kaduna, northwest Nigeria, on Wednesday, has risen to 110 after at least 13 out of the severely injured victims have died in the hospitals.
The Tide gathered that there are fears that more victims who sustained life threatening injuries that are currently on danger list at the two hospitals visited yesterday morning might not survive.
The Public Relations Officer of Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Abubakar Zakari Adamu, who confirmed the figure, yesterday, said 25 corpses were picked from the scene of the blasts at Alkali by Isa Kaita Road, while over 72 bodies were deposited in mortuaries at Saint Gerald General Hospital and 44 Military Reference Hospital.
According to the SEMA PRO, “the staff of the agency worked throughout the night trying ensure that more lives were saved but it is unfortunate that we lost several others.”
One of the victims, Muhammed Sarki, who managed to speak to newsmen at Garkowa Hospital, said: “I thank God for being alive.”
Sarki, who is a trader at Kawo roadside market said: “I saw the Toyota Sienna but before we knew what was happening, I saw myself in the hospital.”
Former military head of state and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) has said that the second explosion that ripped through Kaduna on Wednesday was an assassination attempt on his life.
Buhari said this in a statement he signed. “I am personally involved in a clearly targeted bomb attack today (Wednesday) at about 2:30p.m. on my way to Daura.”
A police spokesperson, Aminu Lawan, said investigations have commenced into the incident.
Police had earlier confirmed that 25 persons were killed in the first blast which targeted Islamic cleric, Dahiru Bauchi, along Alkali road.
Bauchi was attacked on his way back from Murtala Square, where he had gone to hold the final round of his annual Tafsir programme.
“Twenty five people lost their lives in the first blast, while 15 were killed in the second one and five persons who were injured were evacuated to the hospital for treatment,” Mr. Lawan said over the telephone.
Just yesterday, the Kaduna State relaxed a 24-hour curfew imposed on the state after the two blasts.
A spokesperson to Governor Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State said the curfew was lifted since normalcy had returned to the state.
“Following the return of normalcy in Kaduna Metropolis, the State Security Council has relaxed the curfew imposed yesterday after the unfortunate incidences. The public is hereby advised to go about their normal activities and remain calm,” the spokesperson, Ahmed Maiyaki, said.
However, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has expressed its shock and revulsion at Wednesday’s bomb attacks in Kaduna that targeted one of its leaders, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, as well as prominent cleric Dahiru Bauchi and left hordes of innocent civilians dead or injured.
Similarly, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has condemned the bombings, describing them as dastardly and unfortunate.
In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party sent its condolences to the families of the victims and pray that God will give them the much-needed strength at times like this, while also wishing the injured a speedy recovery.
It said the attempted assassination of Gen. Buhari has changed the narrative about the insurgent group and knocked the bottom off the sinister, irresponsible and partisan colouration given to the insurgency by the Federal Government.
APC said while no one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, the mere fact that it occurred at all is a lose-lose situation for the Jonathan administration.
“It is a real problem that is capable of consuming this country if immediate and urgent steps are not made now by the FG to move away from its politicization of the crisis, its decision to use it as a trump card for President Jonathan’s re-election and exploit it as a ticket to international relevance for the President. If anything untoward had happened to Gen. Buhari on Wednesday, the consequences are only better imagined than witnessed!
“If indeed the APC is behind Boko Haram and Gen. Buhari is a sympathizer of the evil group, as the FG wants the world to believe, could it be that the insurgents do not know their leaders or sympathizers, assuming they are behind the attack? If they are not responsible for the attack, doesn’t that support the theory in some circles that Boko Haram has become a franchise; hence there is the Boko Haram of Abubakar Shekau and the political Boko Haram?
“Whatever happens now, the satanic and repulsive theory of the PDP-led FG that the opposition APC is using Boko Haram to truncate the administration of Jonathan is up in flames. Therefore, it is time for them to change the narrative, see Boko Haram for what it is – an enemy of Nigeria – and rally the citizenry, irrespective of their political, ethnic or religious affiliation, behind the government’s efforts to tackle it decisively,” the party said.
It said that as a first step, President Jonathan must immediately stop the wasteful contract he signed with the US-based firm Levick to help demonize the APC as the sponsor of Boko Haram, and to demonize any Nigerian who is perceived to be an enemy of the government. It is this kind of demonization, using pseudo and out-of-job analysts that helped to set the stage for Wednesday’s failed assassination attempt against Gen. Buhari.
“Then the President must address Nigerians to tell them that Boko Haram is not just an enemy of his government, it is an enemy of the opposition, of Christians, of Muslims and of the different ethnic groups.
“Instead of dividing Nigerians along religious, ethnic and political lines, President Jonathan should borrow a leaf from his predecessors. Obasanjo never said the Niger Delta militancy was aimed at his government or his people, he tackled it headlong. Yar’Adua it was who finally ended the militancy, without saying it was aimed at his government or his people,” APC said.
The party reiterated its earlier stand that only a non-partisan approach will galvanize Nigerians against Boko Haram, which is rooted more in the years of bad governance that have resulted in mass unemployment, massive corruption, economic imbalances and made the youth to become hopeless, thus creating an army of willing tools for criminal activities
It repeated its offer to work with the Federal Government to battle Boko Haram and its call for a national stakeholders’ conference to help fashion out a comprehensive counter-insurgent blueprint for the nation.
APC said rather than just throwing money at what has now become a bottomless pit, rather than creating the avenue for some unpatriotic citizens to feed fat on the insurgency, the Federal Government should engage in new thinking.
However, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the party, while mourning the dead, “joins all well-meaning Nigerians in thanking God for saving the lives of General Muhammadu Buhari and Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi whose convoys were affected in the incident.”
“We sincerely sympathise with General Buhari. Our hearts go out to him and all those affected in these wicked attacks,” the PDP said.
The party which stated that it was shocked by the ugly development reiterated its call for all Nigerians to unite against acts of terrorism irrespective of ethnic, political and religious affiliations adding, “It has become clear that anybody could be a target.”
It however cautioned opposition leaders to be careful with their utterances regarding the unfortunate incident, saying that Nigerians must unite for the nation to win the war against terror.
Nonetheless, a former National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party and Nigeria’s Ambassador-at-Large, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, has described the recent bomb blasts in Kaduna State, which killed about 82 innocent Nigerians, as “most barbaric and unholy.”
Tukur, in a statement in Abuja yesterday, said it was more painful that the perpetrators of such heinous crime against humanity could carry out such action during the month of Ramadan.
While condemning the bombings, which he described as dastardly acts, Tukur also wondered why people would take delight in the killing of their fellow human beings without mercy.
He said no right-thinking person would like to take the lives of innocent people away against the teaching and doctrines of Christianity and Islamic injunctions.
He called on those “behind these dangerous acts against humanity” to have a re-think and return to the path of religious and social rectitude.
In the same vein, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the relevant agencies to investigate the Wednesday attempt on the lives of a former Head of State, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd) and a prominent Islamic Scholar, Sheik Dahiru Bauchi, in two car bomb attacks in Kaduna.
The Acting General Secretary of the NLC, Mr. Chris Uyot, said in an electronic mail yesterday that a comprehensive investigation into the bomb attacks was necessary to unravel those behind the incidents with a view to preventing similar attacks in the future.
Uyot described the attack which resulted in the death of 82 innocent Nigerians as “criminal and abhorrent.”
The NLC Acting Scribe said that the Boko Haram insurgency may have become a platform under which various atrocities were being committed in the country.
He said that the labour body was shocked that any Nigerian would want to kill the former Head of State and the Cleric who had worked hard to keep the country together.
The NLC also urged Nigerians to be more vigilant in view of the security situation in the country.
Meanwhile, at least four people lost their lives at the New Road Luxury Park, Sabon Gari, Kano, yesterday afternoon when a low-profile Improvised Explosive Device (IED), exploded.
When our correspondent visited the area, security personnel and Park Task Force were removing the bodies, including unspecified number of people who got injured.
According to eyewitness account, the bomb exploded at about 2:30 p.m. when a Luxury bus marked Ifeanyi Chukwu Motors was offloading passengers.
“The luxury bus just returned from Port Harcourt and was off-loading passengers when the blast occurred. No one can tell whether the bomb was planted inside the bus or the carts that were coming to take passenger’s loads.
Military officers walk past the remains of a car after an explosion on July 23, 2014 in Kaduna, north of Nigeria
“I may not be able to tell you the number of casualties, but I counted four dead bodies, while I saw many people with blood stains running for dear lives,” the eyewitness said.
The incident created fear and panic within the Sabon Gari community as many people were seen closing their shops.
The blast did minor damage to a number of luxury buses.
The incident paralysed activities in the park as passengers, business owners and workers at the park deserted the place.
Security operatives have cordoned off the area as at the time of filing this report.
The state Commissioner of Police, Adenrele Shinaba, who arrived the scene of the incident a few minutes after the blast, said it will be too hasty to say anything on the number of casualties.
It would be recalled that on Monday, 18 March, 2013, both workers and travellers at the New Road Luxury Motor Park were taken unawares when bombers struck at the park which generates millions of naira for business men and Kano State Government through Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
On that day at about 4:30pm, when most of the first buses, like the ill-fated Lagos-bound Gobison-owned bus were fully loaded, bombers in a Volkswagen Golf car casually drove into the park.
Hell was let loose when there was a big bang from the Golf car which had already made its way close to the fully loaded Lagos-bound Gobison bus. This was followed by other blasts in four other buses that set the luxury park on fire.
Scores of people lost their lives. Two buses owned by Gobison Transport, two buses marked Ezenwata Transport Limited and one other owned by Chimezie Transport Limited were burnt.
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.
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