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Jos Explosions: Confusion Over Conflicting Casualty Figure

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA, May 21, (THEWILL) â€' There appears to be confusion over the death toll in Tuesday's multiple explosions that rocked the city of Jos, the Plateau State capital.

While the Commissioner, Plateau State Police Command, Chris Olakpe, put the death toll at 46, with 45 others injured, residents of the city, especially traders, who were mostly affected by the suicide bombings, said many more persons were consumed by the explosions.

The confusion has been further compounded by the revelation of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Wednesday that the casualty figure in the blasts has continued to rise with more bodies being recovered from the site of the incident even as more of the injured have died in the hospital.

Unfortunately, however, not even the NEMA zonal coordinator, Mohammed Abdulrahman, who disclosed this on Wednesday at a media briefing in Jos could give a specific casualty figure. The agency had, Tuesday, put the casualty figure at 118.

And amid the conflicting figures being dished out to the public, the State Government on Wednesday put the death toll at 75 with 126 injured.

The State Commissioner of Information and Communication, Olivia Dazyem, gave out the latest figure while giving an update on the explosions shortly after the state security council meeting, chaired by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Ignatius Longjan.

The Plateau State Government again sympathises with the families who lost their loved ones in yesterday's twin bomb blasts and also prays for the fast recovery of those who were injured in the incidents.

Indeed, the Deputy Governor, Mr. Ignatius Longjan, has visited the scenes of the blasts and the injured, who are receiving treatment in various hospitals.

Government appreciates the efforts of the security chiefs and their personnel for their quick response which has greatly helped in bringing the situation under control. 'Government also, commends all those who were involved in the rescue operations, NEMA, SEMA, Red Cross, Civil Society Organisations and other individuals, for performing their duties professionally and with all sense of patriotism.

'On its part, government has decided to settle all medical bills of those injured as a result of the bomb blasts, including those on admission in various hospitals. Information desk have been set up in the hospitals to provide information to relations and members of the public on the state of health of those on admission,' the Commissioner said.

She disclosed that the sites of the explosions had been cordoned off by security operatives to enable the fumigation of the area. 'The public are advised not to go near the two areas until clearance in giving by the police,' she added as she said preliminary investigations have revealed that congestion in the affected areas of the blast contributed to the high number of casualties and hampered evacuation efforts.

'This emphasises the need for people to comply with the law banning street trading which is still in place. 'Serious cooperation is therefore required from the public to ensure the enforcement of this law. The public should remain vigilant, be prayerful and cooperate with the security agencies to avert future occurrence,' she stated.

Meanwhile, the state Governor, Jonah David Jang, has described the sponsors and mastermind of the bomb attacks in the country as enemies of the nation, democracy and humanity. In a statement signed by his Director of Press, Mr James Mannok, Jang condemned the destruction of human lives as he urged security operatives and all patriotic Nigerians to join in smoking out the perpetrators.

Maintaining that the war on terrorism must be collective, the governor expressed his sympathy with the victims, saying the government was assessing the situation.