“Like I told you, there should be more because we have not gone to the new and old Jos University Teaching Hospitals.”
The Police have confirmed that at least 46 persons were killed in the twin explosions that rocked Jos, the Plateau State capital, on Tuesday afternoon.
The Plateau Police Commissioner, Chris Olakpe, confirmed the casualty to journalists in Jos.
He explained that the casualty would most likely increase as the figures mentioned were only from two hospitals visited, while two more were yet to be visited. All the four hospitals were the one the corpses and victims of the blast were taken to.
Mr. Olakpe said that the casualty figures were collated after visits to Plateau Specialist Hospital and Bingham Hospital, Jos.
“Like I told you, there should be more because we have not gone to the new and old Jos University Teaching Hospitals,’’ he further explained.
The police commissioner said that a comprehensive detail of casualties would be determined after the security teams had visited the remaining two health establishments and that the media would be briefed on Wednesday morning.
Mr. Olakpe also said at least 45 people were injured from the explosions.
The Plateau police commissioner also explained how the explosions occurred.
According to him, the first bomber came in a Fiat bus and parked at the Jos main market’s central business area.
“The second blast, which was concealed in a Siena bus, happened 100 metres away from the first one,’’ he said.
He also said one of the masterminds of the explosions was killed in the blast.
Mr. Olapke said that the market had been cordoned off and urged members of the public to steer away from the affected place in their own interest.
“Men of our anti-bomb unit will comb the market before it is declared safe for business activities to continue,” he said.
He advised members of the public to always avoid the temptation of rushing to bomb scenes, adding that people around such scenes should quickly lie down for “at least 30 minutes” before scurrying to safety.
The police chief advised Nigerians to be security conscious in every environment they found themselves.
“We also expect people to promptly report any suspicious character to the security agencies,” he said.
A witness, Godfrey Sunwar, told PREMIUM TIMES that the casualty figure could be close to 100.
“I saw human parts on the ground, and also bodies; before they were taken to hospitals,” Mr. Sunwar, who had just left the blast scene when the first explosion occurred, said.
“Many of the corpses were taken on wheelbarrows to the Jos University Teaching Hospital temporary site (which is adjacent the blast scene),” he added.
Also briefing journalists, the Plateau State Commissioner of Information, Olivia Dzayem, said some of the injured victims were receiving adequate treatment at the hospitals.
“I want to use this medium to appeal to all residents in the state to be calm in spite of the present happenings,” she said. “We are all pained by the development.”
In his reaction, the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Ignatius Kaigama, described the Jos bomb blast as retrogressive and a set back to the peace efforts in Plateau.
“Just two weeks ago, the Catholic Church launched its Cathedral and Muslim leaders were not only there, but actually made donations.
“Because of the solidarity and the oneness that characterised the event we concluded that peace had finally returned to Jos. So, this news is very disturbing, very retrogressive and quite sad.
“I only learnt about it when some priests, who were with me earlier, returned to the premises and said that they could not go back to their destinations because there were bombs in the market.”
Mr. Kaigama advised Nigerians to be prayerful, and declared that the attacks would soon end.
President Goodluck Jonathan has also condemned the explosion and extended his heartfelt sympathies to the affected families and persons.
“President Jonathan assures all Nigerians that government remains fully committed to winning the war against terror, and this administration will not be cowed by the atrocities of enemies of human progress and civilization,” Reuben Abati, the president’s spokesperson, said in a statement.
Though no group has claimed responsibility for the blast, it is believed to have been carried out by the insurgent Boko Haram group.
The group has in the past one month carried out similar explosions in major cities like Abuja and Kano killing over 100 people.
The group has been declared a terrorist organisation by Nigeria and the U.S. and is responsible for the death of over 12,000 people since 2009.
Nigeria on Tuesday formally asked the United Nations Security Council to declare the group a terrorist organisation.