By Wole Ayodele
Every religion preaches forgiveness. But Mohammed Alli, a Muslim and one of the victims of the Monday bomb blast in Jalingo, believes the dastardly act of the Boko Haram sect can hardly deserve pardon given the deliberate murderous intent of the members. The Jalingo blast claimed 11 lives.
Though thankful to God for sparing his life in the blast, Mohammed, a 100 level student of Accounting in Kaduna Polytechnic was full of venom for the bombers whose act shattered the serenity of Jalingo last Monday.
Narrating his experience to THISDAY on his sick bed at the Male Surgical Ward of Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo, Mohammed argues that the bombers would hardly deserve forgiveness since they are deliberately on a killing spree of innocent people all over the country. Rather, Mohammed thinks they should be made to face judgment and account for their deeds which has spelt doom and brought tears and sorrow to many families.
“I’m not going to forgive anybody. They just denied me my freedom and look at the way I am now. Some of my friends lost their lives to the bomb blast. There is no issue of forgiveness. Everybody is going to account for his deeds,” he lamented.
Narrating his ordeal, Mohammed, a native of Mambilla in Sardauna Local Government Area of Taraba State and the second of eight children, said he left his house at Abattoir, some 300 metres away from the scene of the blast on his way to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) junction and just along the road, he met a friend named Simon who engaged him in a discussion.
According to Mohammed, “less than a minute after we met and while I was still discussing with Simon, we heard the siren of the Commissioner of Police. Simon pulled me to himself to give way to the police commissioner’s convoy. Just then, I turned round because I was backing the road while Simon was facing the road, and suddenly, I heard a very loud and deafening blast.
“The impact of the blast was so much that it threw me up and knocked me on the ground. Despite the shock, I covered Simon to prevent him from getting injured and thank God nothing happened to him. But I was unable to stand up or run because my left side was completely down and ineffective.
“I was just wreathing in pains before a policeman came and asked me to relax and remain calm. He assured me that a vehicle would soon come to convey me to the hospital.
“Despite the initial shock, I was very conscious and I even told a policeman that I wanted to give him my father’s number so that he can call him and explain what has happened to me, unknown to me that they had already heard of what happened.”
Mohammed’s uncle and guardian, Alhaji Abdulkarim N. Bello, who was at Mohammed’s bedside, told THISDAY that he was at the NLC Secretariat in preparation for the May Day programme when somebody called him using Mohammed’s phone to say that he (Mohammed) was one of the victims of the bomb blast and had been taken to the Federal Medical Centre and “I quickly rushed here to be sure and to identify him”.
Bello, a member of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) who works with the state Ministry of Information, lamented that he had gone through a harrowing emotional torture since the bomb blast, saying that it had dawned on him now that what people had been saying about bomb is a reality and not fiction. Taraba State has hitherto been spared the spate of bombings and Boko Haram attacks contrary to the experience of other North-eastern states.
Another victim of the blast, Abdullahi Adamu, who hails from Gombi in Adamawa State, was so frightened by the degree of wreckage visited on the victims, many of them poor commercial motorcyclists, a trade he has plied for three decades. Adamu, believes it is time to quit Okada riding, seeing that it is now replete with danger.
Adamu ran into the blast with the two ladies he was carrying on his motorbike when the blast occurred. They are all on admission in the hospital.
Meanwhile, despite the declaration by Governor Muhammed Suntai that the state government would foot the medical expenses of the victims, THISDAY observed that the families of the victims are still saddled with the responsibility of procuring drugs and other medical utilities needed for their treatment.
Governor Suntai had declared when he visited the victims at the FMC that the state government would be responsible for the treatment of the victims in a bid to remove the burden from the relatives of the victims, majority of whom are peasants and the downtrodden.
However, when THISDAY sought to know whether the governor’s promise is being fulfilled, a cousin of one the victims who spoke through an interpreter revealed that he bought all the drugs and other items used for his brother’s treatment on Monday but they were told on Tuesday to go to the Pharmacy to collect drugs most of which were not available in the Pharmacy forcing them to still go outside the hospital to procure the drugs with their own money.
“When they were brought on Monday, we bought all the drugs and other items we were directed to buy. But today, we were told to take the prescriptions to the Pharmacy to collect the drugs but unfortunately, most of the drugs are not available in the Pharmacy and we still have to go and buy them outside the hospital with our own money,” he disclosed, stressing that the most important thing to him is for his brother to be hale and hearty.
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