But 15 minutes after paying for a ticket and taking a spot on a long queue of passengers, a deafening blast threw him off the ground, set off a huge fire and left bodies of injured and the dead littered around him. In three minutes, Mr. Abubakar recalled, everything seemed quiet as a thick dark smoke curled into the morning air.
“At first there was quietness and suddenly I saw smoke and fire, then I passed out,” Mr. Abubakar narrated from the hospital where rescuers rushed him to.
He said he was thought to have died and was hauled alongside mangled bodies, but was later confirmed to be alive.
“After I fainted only to open my eyes and tried to turn only to find myself inside a truck with dismembered bodies, they noticed me and later removed me when they realized that I am still alive,” he said. “As I am talking to you now, there is so much noise inside my head, I cannot move my legs, the doctors attended to me, gave me drips and medicine.”
Official statistics puts the number of the dead from Monday’s explosion at the crowded Nyanya park at 75. But a PREMIUM TIMES reporter who arrived the scene minutes after the incident insists the casualty figure was much higher.
Mr. Abubakar was one of the 124 injured survivors. President Goodluck Jonathan blamed the extremist group Boko Haram for the explosion.
At the Maitama hospital where Mr. Abubakar was being treated Tuesday, he said he had to endure not only pains but the pangs of hunger.
He had, on the day of the incident, missed breakfast, having left so early, and throughout Monday, ate nothing. The hospital provided nothing and he remained hungry until Tuesday morning when reporters visited the hospital.
“I did not eat anything I was too weak to eat but at midnight I couldn’t sleep of hunger, the last time I ate was on Sunday evening, but there was no food provision. Some people from the mosque came here to give me bread and tea this morning, the hospital only gave us injections and drips. I am still hungry, broke and with no money.”
Salome Jim, a bus ticket vendor, was among those who also survived the attack. The force of the blast hurled her to a nearby rock and, fortunate to escape the death that surrounded her, she sustained a fracture.
“I was selling tickets to passengers when I heard a loud bang and I saw myself flying in the air, I landed on a stone, got up to run when I felt a sharp pain in my legs,” she said from her hospital bed.
Ms. Jim said she mustered strength to crawl on her buttock to safety. “My leg broke into two like a broom,” she said.
Lying next to her was Isah, an okada rider well known within the park.
“Isah too was badly injured, I saw his intestines coming out from his stomach, and the rescue team covered him up and packed the things back into his body that was the last time saw him,” she said.
“I have been sitting down here waiting for a surgery, I am in pain, I am very hungry. No one has come here to give me food, I can neither walk nor move, the nurses and doctors are nice to me but they didn’t give me food.”
“The nurse said she will come and attend to me at 9:30 am this morning and this is 9 o’ clock so I am waiting, but when I came here yesterday they took care of me, I didn’t pay for anything, but they didn’t give us food,” she narrated.
“I went to bed with an empty stomach, the woman inside the ward over there (she pointed) shared her food with me at midnight, as I am here my relatives didn’t know I am here as I couldn’t find my phone.”
A staff of the hospital who pleaded anonymity told PREMIUM TIMES that some cannot eat due to their medical conditions but those that can eat should be given food.
“Some of the victims cannot eat just yet, but some of them who can eat do not have the money to eat, the government can’t only be administering drugs on empty stomachs it can lead to other serious cases, we all tried yesterday but not even a single word of commendations from the government. You people should let Nigerians know the bomb blast victims are hungry and are not fed,” the official said.
When asked why the victims had not been fed, health minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu, who visited the hospital early Tuesday did not give a direct response.
He said: “The management of the hospitals will go back after my departure to find the true situation and sort it out, all hospitals have been very cooperative this is the main situation.”
The Federal Capital health secretary, Onoke Emaiye, who accompanied the minister admitted it was the responsibility of the government to feed victims of the blast.
“The Federal government and FCT administration are responsible for their feeding and their medical bills, some have been taken to the theatre, some Intensive Care Unit, some are been given blood,” he said.
Courtesy: PREMIUM TIMES.COM