From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Ex-Senator from Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, on Saturday visited survivors of a 2012 Boko Haram bomb blast at St Monica Catholic Church, in Malali, Kaduna.
In 2012, about eight worshippers had died at the explosion, with several others sustaining injuries. Those who survived the attack lamented that they have since been abandoned to cater for themselves.
The survivors used the former lawmaker’s visit to call on the government and citizens for aid to be able to get back their life.
A survivor, Polycarp Lawrence, who lost an eye in the attack, said that he has been paying for his medical bills with the little support from the church, which has not been enough. ‘Since the bomb blast of 2012, I have not found my rhythm back in life. Life has been so difficult for me and my family. There has been a lot of empty promises from the government and some individuals,’ the victim said.
‘I was on duty that fateful day; the suicide bomber rammed into the fence of the church. I risked my life to save a lot of people and I found myself unconscious at the hospital.’
Another survivor, Jonathan, complained of a lack of support from the government, saying: ‘While I was admitted at St Gerald Hospital in Sabo after suffering from the attack, I barely get assistance from the government.’
Sen Shehu Sani described the development as ‘unfortunate’, promising to help the survivors in any way he can.
‘When a tragedy happens, it is on the front pages of the newspaper. But, years after, the survivors of such violence will be left to fend for themselves.
‘Victims of violence, victims of banditry, are supposed to be in the custody of the states and the federal government. They should be seen as people who died in the service to their country.
‘Those people suffered persecution. People who lost part of their body simply for being peaceful, respectful and obedient citizens of this country.
‘I want to urge you not to grief that you have lost your eyes or limbs; the mark you see that you are not born with. Even if your scars have been there for more than eight years, the nation is still indebted to you,’ the former senator told the survivors.
‘We always say we thank God that there are no bombings in this country anymore, but we cannot say there is an end to killings in this country.
‘Churches and mosques are not bombed, it is a fact today, but people are still killed in large numbers and people are kidnapped in large numbers.
‘You can’t even go some kilometres away from Kaduna without falling into the hand of kidnappers. People sell their farms and homes to pay ransoms. Nobody is safe now.
‘So, I’m here today to identify with you and to assure you that wherever I go l, I am going to be an ambassador that will speak for you.
‘And it is still not too late for the government to look back and look at the plight of those orphans and widows… it is not too late for the government to look back at those who lost their eyes and limbs as a result of this kind of violence,’ he added.