A woman made quite an impression in Jos, the capital of Plateau State, Wednesday when she recounted how she died from the impact of the first bomb blast but rose from the “dead” within a few minutes following the second explosion.
As she recounted her harrowing ordeal in the assault that has so far claimed 75 lives, Mrs. Funke Oloyede, an ample Yoruba lady in her early 40s, who is a survivor of the twin blasts that rocked the city Tuesday, said she “died” and rose, and then almost died again before she was rescued and taken to the hospital.
Oloyede, who had been admitted at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) where she was recovering from the shock of the experience, said: “I was in the front of my customer’s shop buying some shoes for my children, when suddenly I heard a loud and deafening blast that shook the market to its foundation.
“And being a high blood pressure patient, my blood pressure shot up and I collapsed immediately. I thought I was dead. My confused customer could not help me as she scampered for safety too.
“As I lay down there dead and looking for help, the second and louder blast went off and buildings started collapsing, which engulfed the entire market in total darkness.
“I then realised it was not time to lie down dead. So I woke up and crawled towards a nearby pole with which I supported myself to stand up and managed to wade through the darkness into the light.
“Then, I collapsed again, but this time in a place where people could help me. This was how I found myself in the hospital. I have no injury on my body; my problem was entirely that of shock.”
Speaking about the casualties at the state Specialist Hospital, the information officer of the hospital, Mrs. Talatu Angi, said the hospital had received 55 corpses and 35 injured patients from the blast, adding that the hospital was working at full capacity to cope with the pressure.
At the hospital, there was a large crowd searching for their loved ones. Some ended up seeing corpses of family members, others saw their injured relations, while the rest hurried away to other hospitals to continue their search.
Students of the University of Jos also raised the alarm that they had not seen many of their colleagues.
One of the patients in the hospital, Miss Hadiza Ajiji, who narrated her ordeal, said: “I was inside a Keke (tricycle) with two other passengers when the bomb went off and threw the Keke to the opposite side of the road. We were all thrown out as the Keke was lifted by the blast.
“That was all I knew when I became unconscious. I don’t know what became of the other passengers; I only regained consciousness here in the hospital.”
Ajiji said she had gone to the market on Tuesday to shop for her brother’s wedding. The doctor on duty said she would have to be operated upon as the flesh in her legs had all been taken off.
Ibrahim Yunusa, at the Bingham University Teaching Hospital, whose stomach was ripped open thus forcing out the intestines out of his charred stomach, was immediately wheeled into the theatre for surgery. He was amazed he is still alive: “When I saw my stomach giving way and my intestines pouring out, I thought that was my end. But these doctors did miracles to bring me back to life.”
He said he was inside a moving bus when the bomb went off and shattered the vehicle.
Mr. Stanley Edward Ngene, a shoe seller whose forehead was pierced by an iron rod, said he got injured while he was trying to escape from the confusion that ensued at the scene.
Meanwhile, rescue and emergency workers yesterday cleared and combed through the rubble of the bomb attacks in which the federal government said 75 people were killed.
Emergency services picked through the burnt-out remains of vehicles and collapsed buildings in the New Abuja Market area of the city, where two car bombs exploded within 20 minutes of each other on Tuesday.
In Jos, where Boko Haram had attacked before, the governor’s spokesman said the bombing bore the hallmarks of the Islamist extremists.
“This is not a Berom-Fulani attack,” Pam Ayuba told AFP, referring to the long-standing ethnic violence between Christian farmers and Muslim herdsmen that has claimed tens of thousands of lives in the state in the last two decades.
“The investigation is still ongoing but this is clearly an extension of the terrorist activity that has affected the North-east of the country, the Boko Haram insurgents,” he added.
Kyari Mohammed, a Boko Haram specialist and Chairman of the Centre for Peace Studies at Modibbo Adama University in Yola, Adamawa state, also blamed the Islamists. “They’re the only ones capable of doing this. Every other rebel or fringe group can use bombs but not of this scale or sophistication,” he said.
“I have the feeling that what they want to achieve is to escalate things because of the international pressure which has built up (because of the kidnapping),” he added.
Rescue workers were among those who were caught up in the Jos bombings. As they tended to the injured from the first blast, then the second detonated. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were hidden in a minibus and truck, the military said.
Owing to the twin blasts, Jos streets were deserted yesterday, with an uneasy calm pervading the air.