At the last count, no fewer than 120 people were in the twin explosions. Apart from this, there are families that are still going through excruciating pain of not knowing the whereabouts of their loved ones.
There is wailing and it has been a week of sorrow and anguish, a week that no one wishes to remember, but the experience and the memory have refused to fade away. The twin bomb blasts which occurred between 2:30 pm and 3:15 pm left many people dead, others injured and dismembered.
Families expressed grief and wept and refused to be consoled as they either buried or mourned their loved ones. Others are worried about the whereabouts of their relatives and others alleged to have been dead and their bodies shattered by the explosions. In many instances, family members were unable to recognise their loved ones who where probably burnt beyond recognition.
No doubt, the blasts unsettled the city of Jos and the entire state; those who survived the unfortunate incident gave graphic accounts of how it all happened. Mr Moses Okechukwu, who deals in fabric close to the scene of the incident but sustained minor injuries and was discharged immediately after treatment, told Sunday Tribune that he was in his shop when he heard a loud bang accompanied by fire, adding that he was dazed and unconscious for more than 20 minutes before he was revived and taken to the hospital for treatment.
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Narrating further, Mr Okechukwu said the vehicles loaded with bombs were positioned at the middle of the road for more than four hours before they went off, adding that a lot of people complained about the position of the vehicles but the security men within the vicinity did not act fast before the explosion.
Similarly, another survivor, who volunteered to rescue people, Ismail Abubakar, said that the first explosion occurred at 2:30 pm while the second one went off at about 3:02 pm, observing that the second one claimed more causalities that the first because some of those who rushed to the scene of the first explosion on rescue mission were trapped by the explosion.
A survivor, Tonny Neju, who is now recuperating at Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), although still writhing in pain and yet to come to terms with the reality of the situation, managed to utter some words on his hospital bed. He said he was heading to a shop where the explosion took place to buy a shirt for his one-year-old son when he was caught up in the blast.
In his words: “I was just passing by to buy a shirt for my one-year-old son and in the process I heard a loud bang and the next thing was that I found myself in the hospital.”
Similarly, a civil servant, Philip Musa, who was also caught up in the explosion said he had just finished buying a pair of shoes and was heading toward where he would board a vehicle to Bukuru in Jos South Local Government Area of the state when he suddenly found himself on the ground. Musa, who has bruises and cuts in virtually all parts of his body, is currently receiving treatment at Jos University Teaching Hospital.
Apart from those who survived the explosion, many traders and those selling along the Muritala Mohammed Way, otherwise call terminus, were either burnt beyond recognition or had their bodies dismembered.
One of the traders, who was unlucky and was burnt to death along with his two-year-old child in his shop situated close to the scene of the blast, was Amobi Igwe. His death in the unfortunate incident was a devastating blow to the Igbo community in the state and his neighbourhood.
His wife narrowly escaped the incident, she had just stepped out of the shop when the explosion took place. All efforts to speak with her on Friday proved abortive but sympathisers around her, mostly traders who survived the incident, told Sunday Tribune that the bodies of both Amobi and his two-year-old son would be buried today at his home town. At the residence of the deceased, it was wailing and crying. One of the sympathisers disclosed that the son, Favour Igwe, was the only child of the family
Another man, who is still battling with how to cope with the situation, is Mr. Alex Chuks, who operates a business centre close to the scene while his wife sells fruits just adjacent to the scene of the bomb blasts. Mr Chuks, who looked forlorn, said he lost his wife and his two-year-old child.
According to Mr Chuks, “My wife and the last born of the family were beside the road selling when the bomb went off. After the dust settled down, their remains were later found close to the scene. They would be buried next week,” he simply declared.
Another pathetic part of the incident was the missing of a 23-year-old girl, Miss Ezuku Bala, whose marriage was supposed to come up very soon at the family compound at Gwarandok in Jos. Sunday Tribune learnt that she was assumed to be at the scene to shop for her wedding along with a friend when the bomb detonated and both the girl and her friend have not been found since the incident.
At the family house in Gwarandok, her mother refused to believe that her daughter was dead. She simply urged those coming to commiserate with her to just pray along with her for the return of her daughter. Sunday Tribune learnt that the wedding is slated for 31st May, 2014.
Many homes are in disarray over the unfortunate incident as of the time of filing this report. Many families are still searching for their loved ones. It has been a week of mourning for Plateau State. Mortuaries in the three hospitals within the city are full to the brim especially with decomposed and dismembered bodies, thus constituting health hazard to those living within the vicinity.