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How I Died With My Son—Forgotten Victim Of Nyanya Bomb Explosion Tells Women In Clergy

By Adoyi Ali
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Emotion ran high at a protest staged by the Nigerian Women in Clergy in Abuja on Tuesday when those tagged as "forgotten victims" were brought to narrate their experiences in the two bomb blasts that killed scores of Nyanya residents.

Recall that Nyanya, a suburb of Abuja has been at the losing end of bomb attack since the Boko Haram militants declared that they have penetrated the Nigeria's capital.

In her protest speech, the President, Nigerian Women in Clergy, Prophetess Nonie Roberson, who spoke in an obvious emotional laden voice said many victims of the attacks were being neglected and attention had been focused more on victims in the hospital, explaining that those who are psychologically derailed as well as those going through post-traumatic stress of the two attacks were being ignored.

She said the essence of the forum was to create a platform where individuals who are still suffering from the aftermath of the attacks would be sensitized and assisted in order to survive the overwhelming trauma threatening their lives. Prophetess Nonie said she had visited some of the survivors of the bomb blasts who were still suffering from the trauma of the blast. Narrating her experience, she said, “there is a young lady who has not been able to sleep since the Nyanya incident. Her experience was a horrific one.

She survived the blast, but she has continued to live with the trauma of that very unfortunate incident. She saw a human head flying after her, with blood gushing out, eyes rolling and eventually hit her on the leg, splashing its blood all over her. Since then, she has not slept. She cries out every night. Another young man told me that a human hand hit her during the blast. These people have been living with this trauma. Most residents of Nyanya have stopped eating meat and some have already moved out of Nyanaya. Our concern today is that we need to consider these set of forgotten victims.

Introducing a woman, Madam Grace Omokoro Joe whose only child was killed in the attack, the Prophetess said she could only imagine how she felt about the untimely death of her only Son who was to resume his first ever work on the said date.

Narrating her horrible experience, the woman whose husband is also late said on the fateful day, her Son, Joel Olukayode, a graduate of Federal University of Technology, Minna was to resume his first temporary job in Abuja town. She said " on the fateful morning, we had our morning devotion and I asked my Son to take at least a cup of tea, but he said he was okay, and I gave him my blessing. After 10-15 minutes that he left, the blast went off. I went outside to check if he was still there, but I didn't see him, so I quickly ran to the park, and on getting there, I saw my Son on the ground, dead. That was the last thing I could remember. He was my only child" (silence-sorbs), and I guess, I died momentarily with him.

Prophetess Nonie who consoled her told her to take solace in the fact that Women in clergy will continue to provide her with necessary moral and material supports. The prophetess further presented her with an undisclosed amount of money in an envelope, urging well meaning Nigerians to support their mission by being voices of the voiceless and adopting the bereaved woman as their own mother.

Also narrating how they have been coping with the trauma of the blast, Mr. Balogun, brother to the bereaved woman said it was not easy going from one Mortuary to the other, checking all dead bodies of the victims of the blast before they could identify the body of the late Juel Olukayode, a 29 year old graduate of Chemical Engineering. He said "When she fainted, the body was taken away. So, when she was revived, we had to go to almost all hospitals in Abuja where bodies were deposited, looking for Joel's body, before we finally got it. The trauma of looking at almost all dead bodies deposited in various hospitals can better be imagined." Balogun said.

Another highlight of activity marking the take-off of the Nigerian Women in Clergy's 'Post traumatic stress Project' was a paper presented by Dr. Chizoba Wonodi, a Public Health specialist, John Hopkins University. The Doctor offered expert incite on traumatic stress syndrome, emphasising on the need to pay special attention to survivors of terrorist attacks or any other natural disaster. She commended Women in Clergy for the wonderful initiative.

The Prophetess in her final speech asked the general public, the government and well-meaning individuals to team up with the body to save the lives of those who are currently battling with the trauma of the attack, reiterating that it's not only the injured that are victims.