Northern Nigerian Breaking News

Victims of Abuja bomb blasts complain of neglect

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Some victims and survivors of bomb blasts in and around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja some years ago have complained of neglect by the Federal Government.

Chairman, Bomb Blast Victims Association of Nigeria (BVAN), Kayode Olatunji, who spoke on their behalf, said this at an event organised to commemorate the incidents on Friday.

The event was organised by Speak Out Stand Out (SUSO), an NGO.

Olatunji was affected by the April 8, 2011 bomb explosion at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Suleja.

He said that victims of the various Boko Haram atrocities across the country had continued to remain victims instead of survivors.

Olatunji said that while many families had lost loved ones, there were several victims who had suffered physical injuries that had incapacitated them permanently and some still spending on treatments.

According to him, the most fortunate of those affected by the bomb blasts were only assisted by government during the early stages of the incidents at the hospitals.

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“Every member of the BVAN will tell you, like it was the case with me, that they only got help for a while at the hospitals.

“I was treated with assistance from government at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Gwagwalada, Abuja, for four months and two weeks, after which I was made to fully continue the treatment, since help no longer came from government,” he said.

Olatunji said that although previous administrations made effort to support the victims, they did not get enough support as expected.

He urged the government to probe the utilisation of the victims support funds.

The chairman also urged government to pay attention to rehabilitation and detraumatising the victims as it had been doing for the repentant terrorists.

According to him, neither him nor any member of BVAN ever got a dime or have been compensated or rehabilitated.

“It appears that the victims are the biggest losers and the insurgents are the winners but victims should not be pushed to violence,” he said.

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However, a victim of the Oct. 1, 2010 bomb blast and a Nollywood Actor, Mr Augustine Olajie, called on victims of the various attacks to forgive and see their survival as a priceless gift from God.

Olajie, who said he was the first bomb blast survivor in Abuja, added that he no longer call himself a victim.

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He said he was initially angry with the government but later realised the need to let go and struggle for himself.

“It is our dream to always fly the Nigerian flag with pride because we owe our nation that duty as the nation owes its citizens a sustainable environment for economic development.

“Over the years, Nigeria has had its own ups and downs, laughter and tears.

“The series of bomb blast that rocked the nation in 2014 at this exact spot (Nyanya Motor Park) we are standing remains one of the saddest days in the history of this great nation.

“A lot of people lost their breadwinners’’ lives were cut short a prime all because some irresponsible miscreants decided to toe the line of violence not giving a thought to who would be at the receiving end,’’ he said.

Olajie said that the victims had hoped for some sort of compensations or retribution but not much was done over the years left a sour taste in the mouth.

“We stand here today appealing to each aggrieved person to let go as we can only collectively build this nation together,’’ he said.

Olajie urged the government look into the plight of the victims and provide them the needed support,

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The convener of SUSO, Ene Audu, a legal practitioner, said the essence of the project was to encourage national reconciliation and healing as well as bring hope to the victims.

Audu said that many of the victims were still suffering from physical injuries as well as mental, psychological and sociological trauma and needed proper care.

She called on government and well-meaning Nigerians to come to the aid of the victims and survivors of those blasts and encourage them to forgive and let go of their pains and anger.

According to her, since government has amnesty programme for repentant insurgents, it should also have a comprehensive programme for the victims of insurgency.(NAN)

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