Reacting, Saturday to the Friday’s twin bomb attacks in Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed security chiefs to improve their surveillance strategies if the war against terrorism is to be won, just as he noted that for terrorism to be uprooted from the country, violent extremism must be checked.
A Presidential fact-finding team made up of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, the Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and that of the Federal Capital Territory as well as the police commissioner in charge of the Federal Capital Territory had briefed the president on the extent of damage caused by the explosions.
Buhari also directed the security services to raise their surveillance activities to meet the challenges of “a retreating, desperate terrorist army” and for the general public to remain acutely aware of security in and around them.
“The defeat of Boko Haram insurgency is in sight but to remove violence and make the country safe, we must tackle the prevalence of violent extremism. In doing this, we will learn from the experience of the international community,” a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, quoted the President.
He sympathised with the families of the victims of these incidents as well the families of the more than a hundred others who were killed in similar incidents a few days ago in Borno State.
The fact-finding team had visited the Kuje and Nyanya bombing sites and greeted victims of the incidents at the National Hospital and the Maitama General Hospital.
Meanwhile, the death toll from the multiple bomb blasts in parts of Abuja, Friday night has risen to 18, the National Emergency Management Agency has said.
The Senior Information Officer of the agency, Sani Datti, confirmed that two victims of the blasts, which occurred in Kuje, died early Saturday, while another from the Nyanya explosion died at one of the hospitals.
“The casualty figure has risen to 18; it was 15 as of yesterday (Friday), but two victims of the Kuje blasts died today (Saturday). One of those caught in the blast at Nyanya also died today (Saturday) at one of the hospitals. So three more deaths were recorded, bringing the total figure to 18,” said Datti.
The Federal Government had earlier predicted that the number might change as some of the victims were in critical condition at different hospitals where they were being treated.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal, disclosed this at the Trauma Centre of the National Hospital, Abuja.
Lawal visited the hospital alongside other senior functionaries of the Federal Government after they received a directive from the President to visit the locations.
“The President directed us to go round and assess the damages arising from the bomb blast of yesterday (Friday). The suicide bombers operated at three locations, Nyanya motor park, the Kuje Police Station and the Kuje market.
“The main purpose of our visit is to commiserate with those that have lost their loved ones, some of whom are going through identification process.”
It would be recalled that the Nyanya bus station was again the target of a bomb blast in a series of bombings that rocked the Federal Capital City, Friday.
The first blast occurred in front of a police station in Kuje, while the second occurred at the town’s main market.
“It was not an accidental explosion … definitely it was a bomb,” NEMA spoksman Manzo Ezekiel said.
The attacks came a day after at least 10 people were killed when four suicide bombers blew themselves up in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, and 11 villagers died in neighbouring Adamawa state.
The bombings underscored the persistent threat posed by the Islamist militants, despite claims of military successes in recent weeks in driving them out of captured territory, arrests and mass surrenders.
A tally puts the death toll at more than 1,260 since President Muhammadu Buhari took office on 29 May.
Friday’s explosions happened near a police station in Kuje and at a bus stop in Nyanya at about 10.30 pm.
Kuje, near Abuja’s airport, is 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the city centre and seat of government. Its prison is reportedly holding dozens of Boko Haram prisoners captured by troops.
The same bus station in Nyanya, to the east, was hit twice last year. The first attack, on 14 April 2014, left at least 75 dead and was claimed by the Islamists; the second, on 1 May, left at least 16 dead.
Ezekiel said the latest blasts happened almost simultaneously and appeared to use “the same kind of explosives used in the insurgency” in Nigeria’s northeast.
Abuja was last attacked on 25 June last year, when 22 people were killed in a blast at a popular shopping centre in the heart of the capital.