News / Africa

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Paramedics treat a victim of Monday's explosion at Asokoro hospital in Abuja, Nigeria,  April 15, 2014.
Paramedics treat a victim of Monday's explosion at Asokoro hospital in Abuja, Nigeria, April 15, 2014.
Heather Murdock
In the aftermath of the worst terrorist attack on the Nigerian capital since an insurgency began in 2009, survivors say they escaped with their lives but lost everything else.  Officials say they are looking at ways to help the bombing victims and boosting security ahead of the World Economic Forum for Africa to be held in Nigeria next month.  

At this Abuja hospital, some bomb blast victims moan softly, but most sleep.  They’ve lost limbs and been burnt.

Evere Ivbezim, a fruit seller, had her jaw nearly knocked off by the blast that hit Monday as she was boarding a bus, killing 71 people and injuring at least 124 others.
But, she says, it's not just lives that were lost.
A man rests in the hospital after 71 people were killed and 124 injured when a bomb exploded at a bus station just outside Abuja, Nigeria, April 15, 2014. (Heather Murdock for VOA)A man rests in the hospital after 71 people were killed and 124 injured when a bomb exploded at a bus station just outside Abuja, Nigeria, April 15, 2014. (Heather Murdock for VOA)
x
A man rests in the hospital after 71 people were killed and 124 injured when a bomb exploded at a bus station just outside Abuja, Nigeria, April 15, 2014. (Heather Murdock for VOA)
A man rests in the hospital after 71 people were killed and 124 injured when a bomb exploded at a bus station just outside Abuja, Nigeria, April 15, 2014. (Heather Murdock for VOA)
“All my money.  All my handset.  Everything.  I no get anything.  Only my life, thank God.  Thank God for that, may government help us," said Ivbezim.

Outside the hospital, Beni Lar, the chair of the Committee on Human Rights in the National Assembly, says many victims of the bombing were working-class people, barely scraping by in Abuja’s “satellite towns.”

The “satellite towns” are where civil servants and other employees of Nigeria’s pristine capital live, because they can’t afford to stay in the city.  The towns are notorious for lacking electricity, clean water and for bad roads.

Lar says the government should find a way to help the blast victims recover economically.

“Those that have lost their breadwinners and their families, they will need some relief and some economic reintegration to the families of the victims," said Lar.

Emergency management officials say they will be paying the hospital bills but have not determined if there will be any other form of compensation.

The director general of Abuja’s FCT Emergency Management Agency, Abbas Idriss, says the government is working to coordinate hospital responses to “mitigate the suffering” of any future attacks.

But Monday's attack - the first in two years in the capital - was so devastating that authorites don’t have enough room for the bodies.

“The situation is that it’s not really accommodating the victims.  That is why we have to look for alternative places to relocate all the corpses," said Idriss.

Idriss also says the local government is increasing security ahead of the World Economic Forum for Africa next month.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack but analysts blame Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group that has killed thousands of people, saying it wants to enforce its harsh version of Islamic law.

Most of the violence has been in the northeast, where three states have been under emergency rule for nearly a year.  Nigeria's military says it has largely contained the group, reclaiming formerly occupied lands, arresting and killing insurgents and scattering many who escaped.

But large-scale, deadly attacks continue, and rights groups say more than 1,500 people have been killed this year alone.

And at the Nyanya Motor Park hours after the attack, Vera Achoin, a local English teacher, points to dozens of bombed-out city buses and says she fears the conflict is spreading.
 
“Many died, many.  All those buses you see there.  People were all filled inside to go and yet they had not gone.  The drivers, the one that survived you see them swimming in blood," said Achoin.

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps says it will deploy 100,000 extra security guards on the roads and around churches for the upcoming Easter holiday.
Boko Haram has threatened Christians and previously attacked churches on Christian holidays.  However, the vast majority of its victims have been Muslims.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid