The Niger government on Friday began the disbursement of the N150 million worth of relief materials and cash to victims of the Christmas day bombing at St. Theresa Catholic Church Madalla in Suleja Local Government Area of the state.
Presenting the cheques to the 25 verified relatives of the 42 victims who died in the blast, Chairman of Niger Assessment Committee on Madalla Bomb Blast, Garba Tagwai, said the exercise “is a token relief to the relations.”
He said the committee had verified the actual relations of the 25 victims in conjunction with the Catholic Church.
“We are therefore presenting N1 million each for every victim that died in that dastardly act.”
Mr. Tagwai said the exercise would be a continuous one, adding that the balance of N17 million would be paid to the relations of the deceased persons, who could not be paid yet until the screening was completed.
He said the committee and the church were conducting vigorous screening of all the relations to avoid dubious persons profiting from the relief money.
Mr. Tagwai said the committee had approved the release of N250,000 each to the 82 injured persons spread across many hospitals in Suleja and the Federal Capital Territory.
He said the money was in addition to the state government’s gesture of footing the medical bills of the victims.
The chairman said the committee would release N3 million to the church’s Parish Priest, Rev Isaac Achi.
This, he said, was for the immediate needs of the church pending the release of the funds pledged to the church by Governor Babangida Aliyu during his visit.
Mr. Tagwai said the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) would be responsible for the structural repairs on the church and other properties damaged by the bomb blast.
He said the committee had also approved the release of N2.5 million to four other churches also affected by the bomb blast.
He said that a token relief of N500,000 each has also been disbursed to the owners of the six stalls destroyed by the blast.
“Whatsoever we are doing for you will not bring back your loved ones. But we are doing it to identify ourselves with you and console you on your loss. The money is a token relief.”
The Emir of Suleja, Awwal Ibrahim, prayed that God continues to protect his people from the evils such as the bombing of churches and other locations in his emirate.
Rev Achi commended the state government for promptly redeeming the pledge it made within two weeks of the incident.