Life After the Nyanya Bomb Blast

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Traffic jam on Mararaba-Abuja Road

Normal life is yet to return to Nyanya more than one week after Boko Haram insurgents bombed the ever-busy Nyanya motor park killing more than 70 people and injuring hundreds of others

By Vincent Nzemeke  |  May 5, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

LIFE is becoming unbearable for residents of Nyanya, an outskirt of Abuja, who are still counting their losses  more  than one week after 70 people were killed in a bomb explosion at the popular Nyanya Park. Other than deaths, the dawn attack also left many people with various degrees of injuries and damaged over 30 buses, several cars and motor cycles.

A day after the blast, the military cordoned off the park and mounted a road block which narrowed the three- lane road into a single lane. The road block has compounded the traffic situation in the area making it difficult for residents in the area go out. The Abuja/Keffi Expressway on a good day is known for its horrible traffic. But since the roadblock was mounted, vehicular traffic along the road has gone from bad to worse. Vehicles move at snail speed and motorists have to spend about three to four hours on the road before getting to their destinations.

A taxi driver who simply identified himself as Bello Olatunji lamented the resultant hardship on the road and remarked:“The bombing has occurred already, but these people are just causing us pains, especially at this time of fuel scarcity. I have been in this holdup for close to three hours now.” Other than the traffic situation, residents are still besieging hospitals around the area in search of persons who are still missing.

Traffic jam
Traffic jam

At the Nyanya general hospital, for instance, the emergency and accident unit is full of apprehensive people looking for their relatives. Some members of the transport union from the Nyanya park also came to see if some of their members survived the blast. Since the blast, some residents of Nyanya and other areas have also not gone out for fear of being bombed.

Timothy Gimbia, a civil servant residing at the Mopol Junction end of Nyanya, said, “With this incident in Abuja, it means that no one is safe anymore. They keep telling us that they are on top of the situation, and yet people are dying every day. I have not gone to my office for the past two days because I am now scared of crowded places. Is this how we will continue to live?”

Judith Ukezie, a 62-year-old retired civil servant who resides in Karu, Abuja, said, “I have not been able to leave my house since the incident until  Wednesday due to fear. But I cannot keep staying at home. They said that they will bomb at least seven major points, and they may do it. We are no longer safe. Where is the money they are sinking into the military, or are they using it to finance these killers?”

The popular Nyanya market which opens every Wednesday was also affected by the blast. Last week, virtually all the shops in the market were locked as the buyers and sellers stayed away. According to Esther Eguatu, a second-hand clothes dealer, “We cannot bring ourselves to resume selling in the market immediately because of the disaster. In fact, it will be  disrespectful to the souls of the departed, most of whom are yet to be buried. Secondly, we need to allow the relevant security operatives to conclude their investigations into the disaster without any distractions,” she said.

Other traders who sell their wares at the Wednesday market said they were  wary of returning to the market, because they are afraid of a repeat strike. Eric Udoh said: “We are bidding our time and being security-conscious, because we do not know the plans of the perpetrators of the dastardly acts.”

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