What kind of one Nigeria is this? a middle-aged man, who simply gave his name as Chibuzor asked no one in particular.
With his hands on his head and tears flowing freely down his cheeks, he walked through the charred remains of victims of the bomb explosion searching for his elder brother, Paul, whom he said was at the scene on his way to work in Wuse II.
He was inconsolable as he searched through the severed arms, legs and heads of burnt or blood-stained human beings that littered the scene of the blast before the scene was cordoned off by security operatives.
Chibuzor was not alone in his grief.
Hundreds of Abuja residents who could not reach their loved ones after the blast besieged the various hospitals where dead bodies and survivors were taken to.
Security operatives and hospitals managements had a hectic time containing the crowd that kept increasing every minute.
The case was the same at the Karu branch of the Abuja Clinics and the Karu Customs Hospital, the National Hospital, the Wuse General and the Asokoro General Hospital when our correspondents visited.
Desperate family members who were not allowed access to the hospitals were seen peeping through the fence.
A notice at the entrance of the Karu Customs Hospital showed that 14 survivors of the blast were on admission.
The notice signed by the Head of the Medical Corps, Dr. N.G. Nandang, gave their names as Abigail Mulki, Gift Godwin, Umar Rabiu, Alice John, Jimmy Atike, Njoku Victor, Victor Habila and Suleiman Abdullahi.
Others were Idris Ismail, Daniel Sweetwilliams, Umar Rabo, Okpara Samuel, Dorcas Opawole and Idris Jilkereneini Ochai.
While making his way into the hospital ward, one of our correspondents saw relatives bringing out the corpse of one of those on admission.
One of them identified the deceased as Neini from Kogi State.
“He is my brother. His name is Neini. We are from Kogi State. He works in a bank in the town and left home early. We had been unable to reach him until a friend told me he saw his name among those admitted here. But as you can see, we have lost him,” the bereaved man said.
When approached, Nandang, who came out from one of the wards, said he was busy assessing the patients.
He explained that he had already given preliminary reports to the Customs high command and the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, who visited the hospital earlier.
At the National Hospital, Mrs. Ojocheneni Ogbadu, feared that her 30-year-old son, Danjuma, must have been caught up in the blast.
Danjuma, who works for a hotel in Jikwoyi left home less than an hour to the time of the bomb blast. “My son left home some minutes ago,” she said to herself. Quickly, she took her phone and called Danjuma.
“The phone rang,” she said. To her chagrin, Danjuma confirmed that he had been caught up in the explosion. Then, Ogbadu rushed to the scene and then to the Nyanya hospital where a doctor was stitching her son’s waist.
“He was wounded in the waist and blood was gushing out,” Ogbadu added.
But the blood overwhelmed the capacity at the hospital which then referred the victim to the National Hospital.
At the National Hospital, Danjuma was admitted, like other victims and from there, the medical team took over.
Ogbadu waited to hear word on her son but to no avail.
“There is only one place I have not gone into. I have not been allowed into this place. I don’t know whether my son is still here or whether he had been referred to another hospital,” she wailed.
At the Wuse General Hospital, one of the victims, Mr. Cosmas Ugwuanu, who had his two ears badly affected by the blast, explained that he was about to board a bus to his place of work when the incident happened.
“It was like the world had come to end. I can’t even believe that I am alive. All I can say is that I give God the glory for saving my life,” he added.
Another victim, Mr. Nuhu Abdullahi, whose left hand and two legs were badly injured, also said he was in a hurry to his workplace when the unfortunate incident happened.
“I was rushing to work but look at what has happened to me. My greatest fear is that I don’t know if I will ever be able to walk again,” he said and appealed to the Federal Government to bring to an end the killings by Boko Haram insurgents.
The Asokoro General Hospital was also a place of tears and a theatre of frustration to those in search of their relatives.
The tension was aggravated by the fact that several people were not sure if their family members were injured or among the dead. The only thing that was common to them was their inability to speak with their missing relatives whose phones were ‘switched off.’
The family members of one Olugbegan Samson Oladele were particularly pained by the feared death of the 29-year-old graduate of Architecture, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
Oladele’s younger cousin, Adigun Bidemi, said that the ABU graduate visited Abuja from Kaduna to pick up his call-up letter for the National Youths Service Corps in Abuja.
Oladele was said to be on his way to Abuja metropolis when the blast occurred.
As of the time of filing the story, Bidemi and some other family members were still looking for Oladele.
It took one of our correspondents some efforts to get Miss Agatha David to speak on the predicament of her younger sibling, Isaac David.
Agatha said that David left their home around 6am for his place of work at the General Hospital Wuse, Zone 3, Abuja.
According to her, Isaac was among a group of youths involved in the ongoing polio immunisation in the FCT.
Understandably, Agatha was disturbed about David’s whereabouts as one of his friends who left the house with him for the polio vaccination exercise was caught up in the blast.
She said, “I am Agatha; my brother Isaac David left the house around 6am for work and we can’t find him after this explosion. He is 19; he works with those carrying out polio immunisation at the Wuse General Hospital.
“Four of them, Tosin, Mercy Sam and David left the house together but we can’t find David, Tosin and Mercy. Sam has been taken to the Karu General Hospital but he can’t talk for now.”
One person whose restlessness was most noticeable was a man who identified himself as Prophet Promise Obu from Abia State.
Before he spoke, he had approached the Defence Correspondent of the Nigerian Television Authority to demand a ‘serious talk’ with the Chief of Army Staff on the killings in the country.
Obu had been searching restlessly for his relative called Angechi Idika, who visited him from Kaduna and could not be contacted on her two mobile telephone lines.
He said, “I am a prophet with the King of Glory Ministry. Angechi Idika, aged 27, an applicant who visited from Kaduna.
“She called from the park and after the explosion, I have been calling her but the lines are switched off.
“I went there and found human bodies all over the place. This thing can’t continue; it has to stop.”
Francis Ayoeze also said that his cousin, Miriam Edoziem, who works at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was missing.
Ayoeze, said that the lady got a job recently at the airport after a long wait and was on her way to catch up with a staff bus when the explosion rocked the area.
He said, “My name is Francis Ayoeze; I am looking for my cousin; her name is Mirian Edoziem, 30; she just got a new job, she works at the airport.
“She left around 6.30am to catch up with a staff bus, unfortunately, when I heard about this bomb issue, I tried calling her but cannot get her as her two telephone lines are switched off.
“It is not as if the batteries are down, I charged the batteries for her. That is why I am worried, we live at Kurudu.
“I have been to Nyanyan General Hospital, but they said that it was only one female patient they had there.
“The people asked me to come to Asokoro and I am here but there is no list. I don’t know what else to do.”
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