46 Killed, 45 Injured As Suicide Bombers Strike Jos
… President Jonathan Condemns Blasts, Approves More Measures Against Terror
SAN FRANCISCO, May 20, (THEWILL) â€' The relative peace in Jos, the Plateau State capital, was violated, Tuesday, as two suicide bombers operating in less than 30 minutes interval, wreaked the most devastating havoc on the city in recent times, killing no fewer than 46 persons and injuring 45 others.
Police investigators said the first bomb went off at about 2:55 pm along the Murtala Mohammed Way right in the front of Railway Terminal Station opposite the old site of the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), when a suicide bomber, who abandoned his car at the terminus market axis, later came back to detonate it.
And as rescue work was ongoing at the scene of the first bombing, a Toyota Sienna vehicle also laden with explosives and well-stationed, also exploded about 26 minutes later, killing more people, especially those rendering rescue work.
The explosions rocked most buildings in the area to their foundation and many vehicles were damaged with the charred remains of the victims littering the entire area. Thick smoke from the explosions covered the
entire area causing temporary darkness as people scampered for safety
amid the confusion.
Eyewitnesses told THEWILL that the explosives-laden car was parked along with others in the area which has been turned to a make-shift market since the Jos Main market was burnt several years ago.
Emergency services mobilised to the scene of the bombings almost immediately to assist victims.
Though eyewitnesses at the scene of the explosions put the death toll
at over 60, the Commissioner, Plateau State Police Command, Chris
Olakpe, said: 'So far, 46 corpses have been deposited in various hospitals in the state while 45 persons are hospitalised. '
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has strongly condemned the bomb blasts describing the perpetrators of the tragic assault on human freedom as cruel and evil, according to a Presidency statement.
The statement said the President has directed all relevant agencies to mobilise support and relief efforts in aid of the victims. It said the President extends his heartfelt sympathies to the affected families and persons.
Excerpts from the statement reads: 'President Jonathan assures all Nigerians that government remains fully committed to winning the war against terror, and this administration will not be cowed by the atrocities of enemies of human progress and civilization.
President Jonathan has also expressed Nigeria's deepest appreciation to the international community on the success of the recent Summit in Paris on the security situation in Nigeria hosted by the President of France, H.E. Francois Hollande.
He reaffirms Nigeria's commitment to the implementation of the resolutions reached by the Summit, in addition to existing measures already being taken by the administration to combat terrorism and ensure the safety of lives.
President Jonathan states that the Federal Government of Nigeria is prepared to strengthen existing mechanisms to ensure the immediate implementation of the resolutions of The Summit, among which are:
i. That every necessary measure should be taken to find the school girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists from Government Girls' Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State on 14th April 2014;
ii. That Nigeria and other countries in the sub-region will continue to co-operate and co-ordinate efforts to combat the Boko Haram menace.
iii. That the Heads of State have agreed that each country will contribute one battalion of troops to the international force set up to patrol the border areas, in line with the Resolution of the Lake Chad Basin Commission. France, United States of America and the United Kingdom will extend technical assistance to achieve this objective;
iv. That the countries will come together to put in place an effective border management regime;
v. That no effort will be spared to stop the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and the supply of arms and equipment made available to terrorists.
President Jonathan considers these measures very useful aspects of the concerted international effort to combat terrorism and put an end to the Boko Haram menace. In addition, the President, in Abuja, today, directed relevant government agencies to ensure enhanced implementation of the following programmes in the areas affected by Boko Haram atrocities:
(i) Emergency relief assistance: The intensification of on-going relief assistance programmes by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)) in partnership with donor agencies. The programme will ensure rapid deployment of relief assistance to the affected local government areas and communities. This will include provision of food supplies, medical supplies, basic relief commodities, and conditional cash transfer programmes for affected households;
(ii) Rapid needs assessment: To support additional intervention programmes in the region, the President has also directed that on-going rapid needs assessment by government agencies should be accelerated to identify affected communities and households and assess the extent of damage to public and private infrastructure, amongst others.
(iii) Safety of schools: President Jonathan has also reiterated Nigeria's determination to ensure the safety and security of schools in Borno and other parts of the country and also provide counselling services to any affected students to enable them return to school and continue with their academic work.
Furthermore, the Federal Government of Nigeria will rebuild the Chibok School and fortify security in schools. In collaboration with the UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Education, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the private sector, the government will launch the 'Safe Schools Initiative' which will address security issues; re-build the destroyed schools; and provide equipment and materials.'