Business activities were suspended on Thursday at the ever busy EMAB Plaza and the neighbouring Barnex Plaza on Thursday as foreign security experts were deployed to investigate Wednesday’s bomb blast in the area.
Foreign forensic experts alongside their Nigerian counterparts were sighted at the scene of the explosion .
Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, had shortly after the blast said 21 people were killed and 17 others injured. The death toll however rose on Thursday with the death of two injured people at the National Hospital, Abuja.
Other security agents were also seen searching buildings in the shopping malls for abandoned Improvised Explosive Devices.
Some commercial banks located along Aminu Kano Road also could not open for business as the vicinity was cordoned off by the investigating security team.
The affected banks are Zenith Bank on Aminu Kano Crescent, Fidelity Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc whose facilities were affected by the blast and First City Monument Bank Plc.
Many traders in the two plazas were found discussing the incident and the closure of the plaza and its attendant effect.
Some who pleaded anonymity blamed security agents for the casualties recorded as they claimed that there were rumours about the attack which resulted to heavy security presence before the blast took place.
They faulted security operatives and the private security at the plaza for failing to evacuate the plaza despite getting wind of the attack hours before it occured.
The Chief Security Officer of Banex Plaza II, Mr. Davis Emeka, who also spoke to journalists on Thursday said that he had information that the car used for the deadly operation was searched by the security personnel before the bomb went off.
According to him, the security people could not locate the IED which was said to have been hidden in the booth of the car.
He added, “You know that the security situation in the plaza is very poor. They don’t screen cars. The complaint is that customers get angry.
“In December last year, we had information that the Boko Haram was going to bomb the plaza and they (private security guards at the plaza) did random searching for two days and stopped.
“Another thing is that there was a heavy security presence at the plaza two hours before the blast. There were many soldiers around. It was like they suspected that there was a threat in the area.
“What is curious is that people were not evacuated. They were in this area and that was why they arrested one of the suspects and killed the other. “
Meanwhile, two critically injured victims of the blast died at the National Hospital, nurses at the health facility told one newsmen who visited the hospital on Thursday afternoon.
“It is a sad situation. Two more persons packed up (died) today despite our efforts to stabilise
them. The pain they face was much because one of them struggled to stay alive but didn’t make it,” one of them said.
Other victims taken to the hospital had been treated and discharged when newsmen visited the place on Thursday morning.