Election Campaign 2011: 10 killed and 30 injured in Nigeria

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A young victim of the bomb attack
Political activists working hard to catch attentions from loyalists in the ongoing campaigns in Nigeria are bracing up for more violent attacks in many weeks to come as a violent attack in Nigeria’s Niger State has claimed more than 10 lives in bomb attacks.

As election campaigns are gathering momentum, fears and anxiety are gripping the length and breath of Nigeria as some hoodlums are spoiling the political campaign with violent attacks.

Niger State Governor, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, Thursday was almost caught unawares as he had a close shave with death as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) carried political campaign to Niger East senatorial campaign in Suleja.

Hoodlums trying to spoil political party ‘s election ambitions threw hand-held explosives were into the venue of the campaign in a twin explosions attack killed 10 persons and injured 21 others.

The first explosive was thrown over the fence of Government Secondary School, the venue of the campaign rally, at about 1.30 pm immediately after the national anthem had been rendered to end the event.

The second went off 20 minutes after the governor’s convoy had passed the same spot.
The devices, which were thrown into the venue of the event by a group of men in a white 18-seater moving bus, exploded immediately they landed.

Eighteen persons, mostly members of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC),were unconscious and were taken to the General Hospital.

Some with broken limbs were taken to the Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital for treatment.

No sooner had the explosion occurred than the police cordoned off the entire area thereby forcing travellers into the city to divert through Maje and Diko to enter Suleja town.

The incident threw the town into a state of pandemonium as parents rushed to pick their children from schools.

When THISDAY spoke with the Director-General, Media Publicity and Public Affairs, Alhaji Bala Ibrahim Abdulkadir, he confirmed the incident, adding that the police were on top of the situation and the government was waiting to be briefed by the police.

“Yes, it happened,” he said, adding: “There was actually an explosion but the police are on top of the situation and the government is waiting for the police to give reports on the incident as investigations have already commenced.”

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Mr. Richard Oguche, said the Niger State Command was aware of the incident and had requested that the Commanding Officer of Suleja commence investigation immediately to ascertain what happened.

The bodies of the victims were deposited at the Suleja General Hospital mortuary.

The governor sympathised with the families of those who lost their lives and the injured.

Among the dignitaries who attended the event were Minister of Agriculture, Shiek Abdallah; the wife of the Niger State Governor Hajiya Jummai Babangida Aliyu; Senator Dahiru Awaisu; Senator Kanti Bello; Senator Zaynab Kure; Senator Nuhu Aliyu, among others.

Nearly two weeks ago, Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State escaped a bomb attack when an explosive planted close to his seat at the flag-off of his second term campaign was discovered by the police.

According to the police account, the bomb was planted under a chair.

Meanwhile, what could have been a very successful flag-off of the Labour Party (LP) gubernatorial campaign of the Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Dame Pauline Tallen, was yesterday marred with a ghastly road accident.

Twelve persons, including some of the party’s supporters, died on their way to Jos for the rally.

A statement from the state police command said: “At about 11 o’clock there occurred a fatal motor accident at Kassa along Jos/Barkin Ladi road a Nissan bus with Reg No XB 910 DAL and a Ford Bus with Reg No XE 653 JJN. Twelve people lost their lives and 21 got injured in the accident.”

The injured persons, according to the police statement signed by ASP Apev Jacob, had been taken to the state Specialist Hospital, while the corpses had been deposited at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) mortuary.

“The cause of the accident is still being investigated,” the statement added.

The accident, THISDAY gathered, was a headlong collision between the bus carrying the LP supporters and another bus heading to Mangu from Kaduna for a burial ceremony.

State Governor Jonah Jang and Tallen in separate statements have condoled with families of the deceased.

The rally which pulled a large crowd of supporters however was not deterred as flags were presented in a colourful ceremony to Tallen and other candidates of the party.

Dan Nwayanwu, the national chairman of the party, promised that Plateau, under LP, would be free from incessant crises and bloodshed.

He also said that civil servants would not groan under the party’s rule as obtainable under Jang, in which workers had been on strike for several months.

Reacting to the blasts, President Goodluck Jonathan, last night directed all national security agencies to step up intelligence and surveillance operations across the country to thwart any further attempts by enemies of democracy to unleash politically-motivated violence on innocent Nigerians.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Ima Niboro, said in a statement that Jonathan “strongly condemns as most deplorable, callous, cowardly and wicked the attack which claimed some lives and injured several persons.

“The President condoles the families of those who lost their lives in the dastardly attack and commiserates with all those who are currently receiving treatment for the injuries inflicted on them.”

Former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, said the explosions had once again brought a sad commentary on the nation and its march towards entrenching democracy that is rooted in issue-based campaigns.

Babangida, who disclosed this in a statement signed by his media spokesman, Prince Kassim Afegbua, said: “Bomb explosions are gradually removing the beauty and attraction of political campaigns from being a platform where issues are presented to the electorate to being one that is dominated with fear, apprehension, suspicion, intimidation and threat to humanity.”

The presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, in a statement, said:

“I am deeply saddened by the news of an explosion that has so far claimed 10 lives in the rally of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Suleja, Niger State.

“I wish to extend my condolences to the families of the victims of the blast. Without doubt they are heroes of our democracy and we must not allow them to die in vain.

“However, I want to call on the PDP-led government to take adequate measures to safeguard the lives of Nigerians that attend political rallies. We cannot afford to lose more lives on account of security lapses.”

Source: Thisday

1 COMMENT

  1. FRSC on post-crash care of victims.
    In as much as I have great admiration for the brilliant young Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission of Nigeria, Osita Chidoka especially for his efforts in trying to improve road safety situation in Nigeria. However, I believe that Mr. Chidoka missed the point when he stated in Washington at a meeting with the World Bank that ‘the country was determined to improve on the post-crash care of victims and that the commission had been empowered by law to prosecute any hospital which refused to treat victims of road accidents’ First, I would like to educate Mr. Chidoka that all qualified doctors understand that there is need to keep the good of the patient as the highest priority and conduct their profession only with good and humanitarian intent. Put simply, these are a part of the oath any graduating medical student takes. As such, the issue of rejection of accident victims by hospitals should be addressed from a broad approach. The assumption that most hospitals reject accident victims because of finance is very wrong. The honest position is that most road traffic injury victims are taken to hospitals at a point that the best a doctor could do is to certify the victim dead. If the FRSC or Mr. Chidoka is genuinely interested in addressing post-crash care of victims of road accidents, the first measure is to comprehend that in the event of any road accident, there are steps that can be taken to stabilize the victim, avoid death or minimize the depreciating life threatening condition of the injuries before proper medical attention or response arrives the scene or victim is taken to a hospital which is usually far away from accident locations. The lesson here is for the FRSC to appreciate the great need to empower its officers with modern first aid facilities and knowledge. Indeed, training all Nigerians that use the roads on basic first aid application should be a primary responsibility of the FRSC. The blame resulting from inadequate post-crash care in Nigeria must be properly placed on FRSC. Otherwise, what sense does it make for a National agency on road safety to wait for road traffic victims to die and then resort to prosecuting the doctor or hospital? Indeed, from Osita Chidoka’s position on post-crash care, one may ask, saving lives or prosecuting doctors, which is worthy and relevant to the responsibilities of the FRSC?
    Chukwuka Magbor,
    Executive Director,
    Savealife Alliance
    safealife@yahoo.com