Eight years after the bomb blast which claimed the lives of many people and left many others injured, victims of the explosion at St. Monica Catholic Church, Malali area of Kaduna, have cried of being abandoned.
The attack perpetrated by a suicide bomber in October 2012 left about eight persons dead while injuring 100 others.
The bomber, a Boko Haram terrorist, drove a vehicle packed with explosives into the Catholic church where worshippers gathered on a Sunday and detonated the explosives.
Victims recount ordeals, lament government neglect
While receiving the senator that represented Kaduna Central in the 8th assembly, Shehu Sani, who visited the scene of the attack on Saturday, the survivors who called for assistance from government and good citizens of the country, narrated the ordeals and hardships they face on a daily basis to make ends meet.
Polycap Lawrence, a member of the church, who lost an eye in the attack, said he has been paying for his medical bills with the little support from the church which has not been enough.
He said, “since the bomb blast of 2012, I have not found my rhythm. Life has been so difficult for me and my family. There has been a lot of empty promises from government and some individuals.”
Mr Lawrence said he was caught in the middle of the attack, as he was on duty “that fateful day the suicide bomber rammed in the fence of the church. I risked my life to save a lot of people and I found my self unconscious in the hospital.”
Another survivor of the bomb blast identified only as Jonathan complained of lack of support from government, saying while he was admitted at St Gerald Hospital in Sabo after suffering from the attack, he barely got assistance from the government.
A nursing mother identified as Galadima, who also called for support, said her life has not remained the same since the attack.
“I’m facing a lot of hardship. The church really helped us because we have no money to spend for emergency operations,” the victim who sustained injuries from the explosion said.
In his reaction, Mr Sani promised to render assistance to the victims of the attack, saying it is unfortunate that such people are left to cater for themselves after going through trauma.
He said it was the duty of the state and federal governments to keep the victims of violence and terror under their custody, as they are law abiding and obedient citizens that unfortunately suffer attack from enemies of the country.
According to the former lawmaker, “When a tragedy happens it is on the front pages of the newspaper. Years after, the victims of such violence will be left to fend for themselves.
“Victims of violence, victims of banditry are supposed to be in the custody of the states and federal government. They should be seen as people who died in the service to their country.
“Those people suffered prosecution. people who lost part of their body simply for being peaceful, respectful and obedient citizens of this country,” he said.
He urged the victims of the bomb blast not to “grief that you have lost your eyes or limbs, the mark you see that you are not born with singles you out even in the year after. Even if your scars have been there more than eight years, the nation is still indebted to you.
“We always say we thank God that there are no bombings in this country, but we cannot say there is an end to killings in this country.
“Churches and mosques are not bombed, it is a fact today. We are Grateful to God for that and appreciate the effort of the FG and President Buhari in that respect. But people are still killed in large number and people are kidnapped in large number. Just today in Southern Kaduna, Apostle Emmanuel Bako and his wife Cindy were abducted from prayer ground”
“A spade is a spade and not a spoon. The insurgents and the bandits claim to be Muslims and are targeting Churches and Christians but they are also attacking Mosques and Muslims; that is supposed to unite Christians and Muslims against intolerance, extremism and violence,” Mr Sani said.
The former lawmaker who lost his reelection bid to the senate in 2019, said there is no justification for terror whether churches or mosques are attacked, saying if ”you are silent or neutral or try to rationalize, that is sympathy or finding justification for terror.”
Mr Sani said the only way there can be peace in Nigeria is if there is entrenchment of justice, equality and equity by leaders.
He affirmed that in a multi-religious country like Nigeria, the national flag, national anthem and the national pledge cannot keep Muslims and Christians in peace but the entrenchment of justice, equality, equity by leaders can.
”When leaders swore by the constitution and promised to be fair and only favour people from their ethnic group or faith,the nation under such leaders will be in permanent turbulence and ceaseless storms,” he said.
“Our political leaders past and present thought they were God, and our people believed and worshiped them as gods and now the nation is stuck in violence and kidnappings; and both the leaders and the led are seeking a way out from the real God. They told you to vote for them that they can do it, now they are telling you only God can do it,” Mr Sani said.
The human rights activist decried the rising insecurity in Kaduna State.
”People sell their farms and homes to pay ransoms. No body is safe now. Your leaders thought they were magicians and infallible messiahs now you have seen that they are politicians and mortals,” he said.
He told the victims of the blast that he would identify with them and continue to speak for them until they receive the support they deserve.
”I’m here today to identify with you and to assure you that wherever I go l, I am going to be an ambassador that will speak for you,” he said.
Mr Sani called on the government to look at the plight of those who became orphans and widows through terrorism, saying ”it is not too late for government to look back at those who lost their eyes, limbs as a result of this kind of violence.”
“Violence cannot make people change their religion and those who want to use violence to achieve their hidden objectives are making a big mistake. Islam and Christianity have come to stay,” Mr Sani said.
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