The horrific tales of death, dismembered body parts, charred bodies and dozens of severely injured persons, again formed the theme of the narratives among Abuja residents yesterday.
But for Oguike Charles, who was receiving treatment in Asokoro General Hospital, Abuja, fate has been kind to him by sparing him from the jaws of death. He has been very lucky, cheating death twice in less than a month.
He told THISDAY that he narrowly escaped the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment stampede that resulted in the death of about 20 people in Abuja and other cities in the country last month.
Oguike, an unemployed graduate since 2010, has been in search of employment since leaving school. He told THISDAY his experience: “I stay in Nyanya, the thing happened yesterday when I was going to Wuse market. I usually leave home between 7 am and 7.30 am.
“Yesterday (Monday), when I got to Nyanya bus stop, where we used to enter el-Rufai buses, I bought my ticket and queued up at the entry point. Just then, there was an explosion.
“The explosion happened in such a way that I couldn’t recognise myself; I saw so many dead bodies flying. Then, I knew that apart from breathing, life is nothing. In fact, in my own case, this is the second time I have escaped death narrowly. I escaped the immigration stampede and now I have escaped death from bomb blast.”
Similarly, Mr. Abang Malview, a 30-year-old Biochemistry graduate of the University of Calabar, who also survived the tragedy of the recruitment exercise, could not believe his luck like Oguike.
Abang, who works with a pharmacy in Abuja, recounted how those who stood beside him at the bus park perished in the blast.
“Almost all those who were standing with me perished in the blast. I got to Nyanyan park where I got the bus ticket at the point of entering the park, just at the gate. Vehicles were lining up there after I had bought the ticket, but before I turned, I just heard a heavy explosion. It appeared a bomb was planted in one of the vehicles beside me,” he said.
Abang, an indigene of Ogoja in Cross River State, said the force of the explosion lifted and threw him to the other side of the park.
“As God would have it, it just lifted me, threw me afar and I survived. All the people who were there with me where I bought the ticket perished. When I came to from the impact of the explosion, I stood up and saw the place was engulfed with fire. However, I was struggling to move as I had twisted my foot, so some people came and gave me aid; they dragged me away from the fire,” he added.
Abang said he had in his possession all his original credentials – from primary to university – but lost everything.
“When I got here, I also had a pain in my chest but it has been attended to, and right now, I feel much better, aside from my foot that is still swollen,” he said.
Another victim at Maitama General Hospital, Samuel Fila, who also spoke to reporters, said although he was being attended to by medical personnel, he was still having hearing problems, as he could barely hear as a result of the explosion.
“They have been treating me well, but I have been having problems. I can still hear the sound of the bomb blast echoing in my head, even as I no longer hear clearly,” he said.
But as lucky as they may seem, there were many who were still grieving yesterday from the human casualties recorded as a result of the blasts.
Such people included the staff of Bank of Agriculture (BOA), as one of their colleagues, Jonathan John, gave up the ghost yesterday.
According to his colleagues from BOA, John was rescued alongside other victims but later died in the early hours of yesterday from injuries suffered from the blast.
On receiving the sad news, Mrs. Hilda Ishaka, who shares the same desk with the late John in the office, collapsed. She was treated and admitted at the Wuse General Hospital for observation at the time of filing this report.
The late John was before his death, the secretary of an executive of the bank. He was heading for work that fateful Monday when his life was abruptly cut short by the terrorists.