Friday, December 19, 2014 6:20 pm
Nnamdi Felix/ Abuja
Bomb blast victims across northern Nigeria have appealed for help from the National Human Rights Commission, accusing the federal government of neglect and abandonment.
In their petition to the Commission, the victims alleged that they have been neglected and abandoned by the federal government which has failed to keep to its promise of taking care of their medical bills.
President Goodluck Jonathan had at every visit made to scenes of bomb blasts and to the hospitals to visit victims of the bomb blasts, repeatedly promised that government would take care of the medical bills of the victims.
They complained that many of them have died as a result of lack of government’s concern and negligence.
In the petition signed by Mr Kayode Olatunji on behalf of other victims, they stated those who initially survived the bomb blasts died months later as they could no longer cope with the exorbitant medical bills.
“Many underwent surgical operations in other hospitals after the initial hospitals at which they were hospitalized withdrew from handling their cases” read part of the petition.
The blast victims were those who recorded various degrees of injuries from bomb blasts which occurred at the Independent National Electoral Commission’s office in Suleja, Niger State, United Nations Building in Abuja, Nyanyan motor park among others.
”We are citizens of Nigeria who should enjoy safety and security of our lives like other citizens, so we deserve to be given proper attention. We therefore write to solicit for help from the human rights commission to cause the federal government to fulfil its pledges for our treatment.”
In its response, the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Commission, Dr Chidi Odinkalu, assured the victims that the federal government remained committed to the welfare of the victims which, according to him, informed government’s creation of the Victim Support Fund which also has the Commission in the board of the fund.
He advised the victims to come together and to reach out to other victims so that they could present a united front and to compile all necessary records including medical reports and evidence of bills paid to enable the commission make the necessary recommendations adding that the commission was ready to work with the victims to table their grievances before appropriate authorities.
Odinkalu noted that there was no protocol to manage victims of bomb blasts adding that this was inexcusable and made a case for a policy establishing a protocol to manage victims of bomb blasts.