At least 29 people were killed and more than 65 others wounded on Monday in two separate attacks by suspected Boko Haram insurgents on the capitals of Gombe and Bauchi states.
The Gombe State attack was by a female bomber who struck at the Dukku Motor Park in Gombe. She killed 19 and left 40 others injured at about 10.58am.
Almost five hours and 28 minutes after, another insurgent detonated a bomb hidden in a shop at the ever-busy Central Market in Bauchi.
It could not be ascertained if the bomber was a male or a female.
The Gombe bomber was said to have disguised as a passenger carrying her lethal weapon hidden in a sack .
Eyewitness said she detonated the explosive near a bus loaded with passengers.
“The bomber chose her target carefully. She probably was standing by and observing when some of the buses in the park were fully loaded before setting off the bomb.”
The witness, who said that two buses were completely burnt, added that majority of the victims were passengers and hawkers .
The Police Public Relations Officer of the state police command, Fwaji Atajri, and the National Emergency Management Agency confirmed the death of 19 people .
While Atajri said 25 were injured, NEMA, in a statement by its Information Officer, Manzo Ezekiel, gave 39 as the figure.
The PPRO said that the injured were being treated at the Gombe Specialist Hospital.
The statement by Ezekiel read, “Following the explosion in Dukku Motor Park in Gombe on Monday, the NEMA-led rescue operations evacuated all persons affected by the incident to the hospital while the area has been cordoned off.
“Most of those evacuated were taken to the Gombe State Specialist Hospital where they are now receiving treatment from injuries sustained in the explosion.”
At about 5.28pm on Monday, another bomber struck at the Central Market in Bauchi when traders were preparing to close for the day.
When The PUNCH correspondent in the state visited the scene, tension was high as some angry youths ordered journalists to leave or be attacked .
Gunshots were fired by security agencies at the scene to scare away the youths but they responded with stones and other dangerous objects.
An eyewitness, Mu’azu Musa, said he saw bodies of the victims being evacuated from the scene of the blast.
Musa, a commercial motorcyclist, added that he found himself in the hospital after losing consciousness on seeing the charred bodies of the victims.
At the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital, one of our correspondents saw injured victims taken there by Red Cross officials.
The Deputy Chairman, Medical Advisory Council of the hospital, Saidu Kadas, told journalists that the actual casualty figure could not be ascertained as more victims were being brought in.
Also, the Chairman of the ATBUTH branch of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, Mr. Idris Ado, said that striking health workers had been called upon to report for work on Tuesday(today) to help in treating the wounded victims.
Governor Isa Yuguda, in a statement, condemned the blast as most unfortunate and barbaric.
The governor, according to the statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ishola Adeyemi, said those behind the attack were cowards.
He told the people that his administration would not relent in its efforts to ensure that their lives and property were protected .
Southern hunters to join anti- Boko Haram campaign
Meanwhile, hunters in Southern Nigeria on Monday announced that they would join their colleagues in the North-East in ending what they described as the “senseless war” against Boko Haram.
The hunters, under the Association of Animal Hunters of Nigeria, told journalists in Benin, Edo State, that the war in the North-East had persisted for too long.
The President of the association, Mr. Raymond Macaulay, said, “We just want to be there, and put this nonsense behind us. We want to let our fellow hunters there know that they are not alone. As hunters, what hurts one hurts all.
“We are feeling what they are feeling. And now, we are going there in our thousands to end this nonsense. Their business is our business. It’s time for action.”
While arguing that no country could end insurgency through the military alone, Macaulay advised the Federal Government and other well-meaning Nigerians to urgently empower his group with logistics to enable them to “move immediately to the North-East, especially in view of the renewed bombings and abductions of women and girls.
He said, “Hunters out-number insurgents and even security agents. We can no longer allow antelopes to harass our people in the North. We are ready to join our brother-hunters in the North-East to stop the mindless destruction of our people.”
The President of the Senate, David Mark, has challenged security operatives to bring their intellect and investigative skills to bear in finding out those behind the insurgency in Nigeria.
He also implored community leaders and other Nigerians to collaborate with the security agencies in order to expose the financiers of the criminals forthwith.
Mark, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Paul Mumeh, stated this in Abuja after decorating his Aide-camp, Mr. Abel Miri, with his new rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police.
The Senate President reasoned that one of the ways to end insurgency was to unmask their sponsors within and outside the country.
Mark said, “The unabating situation demands extra-ordinary measures to handle. All of us, irrespective of status must be alert to our responsibilities.
“Let us rise as one people faced with a common problem to say no to these harbingers of death . Let’s come together and work hard to free ourselves .
“All Nigerians, must see these terrorists as a threat to our existence. Nobody should sit on the fence any more. It is a choice we have to make in chasing these terrorists away or wait to be consumed by them.
“This is not about politics, religion or ethnicity. It is about our survival as a nation.”
Mark told his newly decorated security aide that his new rank “demands higher responsibility and dedication to the service of his fatherland.”
Blaming Jonathan for insurgency won’t exonerate APC
The Peoples Democratic Party also said on Monday that no amount of allegations against President Goodluck Jonathan can exonerate the All Progressives Congress of blame for the wave of violence in the North-East.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, alleged that the body language and inciting utterances of APC leaders, had served as fuel to the raging flame of terrorism.
It said that by going to the international media recently to distance themselves from complicity and in turning round to blame it (PDP), the APC was asking Nigerians to suddenly forget the barrage of earlier statements by its leaders
The PDP statement reads, “Nigerians have not forgotten the spontaneous violence and mayhem on innocent citizens following a statements by(Muhammadu) Buhari and other APC leaders in the defunct Congress for Progressive Change , upon losing the 2011 presidential election.
“The APC leaders have so far left no Nigerian in doubt of their party’s violent disposition as Gen.Buhari in May 2012, remorselessly stated that ‘the monkey and baboon will be soaked in blood’ should he lose the election.
“Nigerians have also read and heard other ricocheting calls for violence and threats of parallel government from other leaders of this same party. These are not just mere slips but incontrovertible snips from the agenda of the APC to sustain insurgency and set the stage for carnage after they lose in the 2015 general elections.”