Victims of bomb blasts in Nigeria, who were affected by repeated terrorist attacks since 2010, have accused the government of neglecting them despite assurances that they would be catered for and given free medical attention.
In a statement Wednesday, the victims, under the aegis of the Bomb Victims’ Association of Nigeria (BVAN), said several people who initially survived the attacks by Boko Haram, have died due to prolong neglect by the government and their inability to pay their medical bills in hospitals at home and abroad.
“Victims are dying needlessly, deaths that are avoidable if urgent and continuous medical attentions are provided. We have cases of first-degree burns, cornea opacity, compound fractures and orthopedic cases, limb amputees, tympanic membrane and osicular bone damages on the ear, keloid skins, intensive nerve and tissue injuries and so on, which are in need of urgent medical attentions,” the group said.
“Many of the victims have lost their lives as a result of government negligence and neglect, many which initially survived the bombing, died months later for inability to cope with exorbitant medical bills, which the Federal Government promised to clear at every bomb blast that occurred.”
More than 15,000 people have been killed, many of them through suicide bombing and the use if Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) targeted at civilians since 2009 when Boko Haram when Boko Haram commenced its campaign of terror.
The statement stated that having endured years of utter neglect by government, some the the victims were left with no choice but to form an umbrella body “to speak with one voice and to help show love, care and support towards those affected,and be the voice of the voiceless of her members.”
“We are united by our scars and by our belief that together we can care for and support one another to get through this trauma, reclaim our dignity and, ultimately, prevail over the perpetrators of the crimes that have scarred our lives forever,” the group said.
The victims said the government failed to honour its promise to provide free health care for victims of bomb blasts in the country leaving and wondered what happened to the N80 billion raised by the Victims Support Fund (VSF).
They therefore called on the administration of Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the disbursement and management of the VSF.
The group also asked that the government should include its representatives in the VSF committee, and set a framework that will make sure the the funda reach true victims of the bomb blasts.
In August 2014, immediate past administration set up the VSF to pool resources and provide support to victims of Boko Haram insurgency and other similar clashes.
A committee headed by Theophilus Danguma and made up of influential Nigerians was inaugurated to raise funds and supervise its disbursement to victims.
Other members of the committee are: Mohammed Indimi, Abdulsamad Rabiu, Sani Dauda, Folorunsho Alakija, Cosmas Maduka, Jim Ovia, Wale Tinubu and Sani Sidi, the Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
During its inaugural fund raising dinner, the committee overshot its N50 billion mandate by N10 billion. Some of its largest donors were Mr Danjuma, $10 million; Aliko Dangote, N1 billion; Mr.. Ovia, N1 billion; Tony Elumelu, N2.5 billion; Mike Adenuga, N1 billion; Wale Tinubu, N1 billion; Arthur Eze, $5 million; Mohammed Ndimi, $5 million; Kabiru Rabiu, N500 million; Dahiru Mangal N500 million; and Folorunsho Alakija, N500 million.
Others include a group of oil sector players, N17 billion; bankers N15 billion, telecom sector players N1 billion; state governors, N3.7 billion; and ministers, N50 million.
Last month, the Vice Chairman of the committee, Fola Adeola, resigned saying he has done enough to stabilise the committee. A source knowledgeable about the workings of the committee however told Premium Times that Mr. Adeola resigned due to alleged corruption and mismanagement.
“All kinds of things happened there that he just wants a quiet exit. He doesn’t want to get into any trouble,” the source who asked not to be named told Premium Times.
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