*Nowhere is safe – Primate Okoh
*Nigerians must unite against terror – APC
*Blame it on Jonathan – Saraki
By Abdulsalam Muhammad, Demola Akinyemi and Caleb Ayansina
For the first time in the 400-year history of the Kano Central Mosque, Muslim faithful abandoned prayers mid-way.
Yesterday, survivors of the Friday carnage, the death toll of which is believed to be well over 200, recounted what happened and how they escaped death.
Even on their hospital beds and suffering varying degrees of pain, they painted a very grim and frightening account of what happened.
Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State visited hospitals in the city, yesterday, to commiserate with, as well as give words of encouragement to families of the deceased at mortuaries on the one hand and survivors on the other hand.
To Alarama Muhammadu Inuwa, a 70-year-old cleric, the multiple blasts that ripped through the Jumat prayers in Kano further strengthened his belief in the
omnipotence of God in whom he believes, even though he occasionally looked blank as he narrated how he escaped.
Inuwa told Sunday Vanguard at his Naibawa residence how he escaped the madness that enveloped the Kano Central Mosque after what looked like coordinated terror attacks on the largest congregational prayers – over 1,500 were reportedly injured.
The Chief Imam of Masalacin Nakuka of Naibawa Quarters said that his 32-year-old son, Ahmadu Inuwa, and a neighbor, Malam Mai Tasi, “were seated two rows away from my position”.
The revered cleric revealed that for a period spanning five decades, “I observed my Friday prayers at the city’s mosque” but said for two years now, “I had ceased going there until last Friday”.
Speaking further, he said, “I got to the mosque early enough and sat beside some friends that I had always sat with inside the dome for five decades. We exchanged pleasantries, and I explained to them the reason for my absence in the last two years.
“Everything went on smoothly until about five seconds into the prayers when we had a deafening noise behind us followed by twin-blasts that occurred simultaneously right inside the mosque”.
Prayers were immediately abandoned as faithful scampered in different directions.
Continuing with the graphic details of the blasts, he said: “The Chief Imam, who led the aborted Jumat prayers, betrayed emotion after the first blast, and the twin blasts right inside the mosque because everyone, including the Chief Imam ran for dear lives”.
He explained: “You cannot believe it. While I made my way out of the chaos, I never knew that a six-year old boy who was perhaps caught in the madness tenaciously hung on to me until I got to a safe zone. It was hell inside there.
“How I escaped is still a subject of mystery, and it has also strengthened my faith that Allah is alive and in total control of events and happenings in this sinful world”.
Ahmad Inuwa, 32, in tears, while reliving his ordeal in the house of God, narrated: “A large number of worshippers recovered from the initial shock of the blasts and stood their ground when it became obvious it was an attack; we needed to defend ourselves.
“I partook in the efforts to rescue the injured and remove the mangled bodies of children. I saw people’s bowels.
“I also saw how worshippers confronted the gunmen, picked them one after the other and set them alight.
One of the ironies was this young man I suspected should be in his mid-twenties who begged for mercy after he had killed innocent civilians.
“I lost my Muslim brothers, but the soothing thing was that all the five gunmen lost their lives, at least we have sent a message.”
Sani Abdulkadir: I was hit on the chest
Another victim of the blasts, Sani Abdulkadir, told Sunday Vanguard: “I came to the mosque a bit late, and walked into the confusion. While trying to escape I was hit by bullet directly on my chest and fell face flat on the ground but before hitting the ground, as I turned, another bullet hit me directed on my thigh.
“But I saw one of the gunmen clearly; he was on top of the perimeter fence of the mosque; he was a young man I suspect should be under 20years. This is all I could remember; I was told I went into coma and brought to hospital in a pool of blood”.
Kabiru Ibrahim: I hid among the dead
Ibrahim, also a victim, said: “The blast sent him sprawling on the floor as he realised that blood was oozing out of his chest as a result of sharp objects that hit him.
“I hid among the dead to escape the gunman shooting sporadically from a height,”he said.
“The good thing was that angry worshipers took the bull by the horn and went after him and brought him to the ground and administered instant justice”.
He added that the rescue team found him alive among the dead and brought him to hospital.
“I saw hell; I sniffed death and slept among the dead in the house of God; but I remain grateful that I am alive to tell the story”.
Farouk: I saw smoking van
13-year-old Farouk told his own story: “I was in the mosque with my elder brothers when the blasts occurred.
“I saw one of the suicide bombers alighting from a smoking Sienna van. A quarrel ensued between him and worshipers who surrounded him because they suspected that the way he waded dangerously through the crowd was unusual.
“The suicide bomber was also armed with a very big gun; but before I could make sense out of the developing event, I heard a deafening sound that sent me to the ground.
“It was later in hospital that doctors told me that I was brought in from the scene of the blasts in a pool of blood.
“I want you to tell the governor about my predicament. I was told that two pallets of bullet were lodged in my tummy and no one has done anything to remove them. I don’t want to die now; please tell the governor”.
He revealed that his two brothers were still unaccounted for.
Babangida Hamisu: I thought I was dead
Babangida Hamisu, who escaped death by the whiskers, explained that the loud bang snuffed life out of some worshipers within close proximity of the blasts.
Hamisu, whose body was riddled with bullets, stated: “I thought I was dead but I’m surprised I survived”.
He explained that after surviving the blasts, he tried to escape from the scene only for a gunman to target and hit me; I hit him. “I hit the floor instantly”, he said.
10-year old Yusuf Sada: I became unconscious
Sada was also hit by the terrorists’ bullets on his chest and leg.
“I became unconscious; I was later conveyed to hospital”, he said.
Another victim, Isa Muhammad, 6, was still lying unconscious in hospital.
His father, Malam Muhammad Sada, told Sunday Vanguard that the boy went to the mosque in company of his brother, adding, “My two other children returned home safely”.
Nigerians must unite against terror – APC
Meanwhile, All Progressives Congress (APC) condemned, in the strongest terms possible, the Friday “senseless attack on innocent worshipers at a mosque in Kano”, saying terrorism will never prevail no matter how long it takes.
In a statement in Lagos, yesterday, by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the attack again confirmed what it (APC) has always believed: That terrorism is an attack on our nationhood and the way we live.
”Every attack against innocent people, including women and children, or those who are performing or pursuing their commitment to their God or faith, is a cowardly and senseless victimization and exploitation of vulnerability,”the party said.
”APC stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Kano and all the affected families at this difficult time. We pray that God will grant repose to the soul of those who were killed in the blast, while also wishing all those who were injured in the attack a speedy recovery. We urge all citizens to demonstrate the Nigerian spirit of compassion and strength of character by providing succor and support to one another.”
APC also commended the security agencies for their continued sacrifice in confronting the insurgency, despite the fact that they are working in very difficult circumstances, characterized by insufficient equipment and support that could serve as a great morale booster.
”We want you to know that your work and sacrifices secure our nation and, for that, you will never be forgotten. Together we will get through this,” the party told the security agencies.
It restated its resolve to work with the Federal Government, in a bipartisan manner, in all genuine efforts to fight terrorism, to better secure our nation and to provide support and succour for the long-suffering people of Nigeria.”
Nowhere is safe – Primate Okoh
The Primate of Anglican Communion, the Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, also, yesterday, called on Nigerians to unite against terrorism.
The Primate’s call came on the heels of the Kano blasts.
Okoh was speaking at the Carnival For Christ (C4C), a celebration to mark the 25th anniversary of the Diocese of Abuja, held under the theme: ‘Celebrating the Faithfulness of God’, in Abuja.
“With the Kano blasts, it is clear to us that nowhere is safe in the country. They have bombed churches, they have bombed mosques. So, we must all us unite and present a common front against terrorism”, he said.
Okoh further maintained that Nigerians and Nigeria were more important than any political agenda, saying the leaders and the led should desist from playing politics with “our national security.”
He added: “If we don’t play politics with our national security, then we will be able to defeat terrorism. We should not allow anybody to give any colouration to terrorism. Evil is evil; and if we don’t look at it from our own party politics angle, we will be able to defeat terrorists.
“Our national security is more important than politics, more important than election; human lives cannot be equated with any political agenda. Therefore, I call on all of us to rise and be mindful of our security.”
Blame it on Jonathan – Saraki
Also yesterday, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Ecology and Environment, and senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, condemned the attacks.
He blamed President Goodluck Jonathan for the continued insurgency in the country.
He said.”My heart goes to the families and friends of those who died and sustained injuries; the Almighty Allah will console them. But the bottom line is that when you are on the seat of power, it is your responsibility to provide security for everybody and if you have not done that, you have failed and I think as Nigerians, we must say it as it is: the present administration still has some months to go and I believe they can make some difference. But to say that we should accept it or that they should be blaming the opposition would not be acceptable.
“There is nothing we all gain being in opposition and seeing Nigerians dying like this. The number of those that have died is as high as those that have died in Afghanistan and Syria and Nigeria should not be compared with these countries.
“The Jonathan administration should stop the resurgence and if they cannot stop it, we should say it the way it is.”