EDITORIAL: We urge renewed support for bomb blast victims.

EDITORIAL: We urge renewed support for bomb blast victims.
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Bomb blasts have become a recurring decimal since its first appearance on the crime scene in Nigeria in 1986.  

Bomb blasts in the country has been in the form of parcel bombs, suicide bombing, planted Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and the targets so far had been churches, mosques, highways, military installations/police stations, government buildings, schools, soccer viewing centers and car parks to mention but a few.

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The effects of bomb blasts on the victims include death, permanent incapacitation, body injuries and psychological trauma and on the larger Nigerian society are development of crime/attack fear, lull on social and business activities.

The level of bomb blasts reached its peak between 2009 and 2016, Aljazirahnews recalls.

Majority of the bombings are attributed to the activities of Boko Haram, an Islamic revolutionary group who are opposed to western education. Boko Haram literarily means in Hausa – Western education is forbidden or is a sin (Haram).

The management of Bomb blasts victims in Nigeria has been a herculean task however.

The post- occurrence management of bomb blasts victims involves evacuation of victims to various hospitals for medical treatment by rescue agencies like the Police, Army, Civil Defence Corps, Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC) and National Emergency Management Agencies (NEMA).

However, findings reveal that the victims of bomb blasts in the country face a plethora of problems.

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The nonchalant attitude of the government towards her citizens, who are suffering and dying for no fault of theirs, caused the surviving victims to form an association known as Bomb Victims Association of Nigeria (BVAN).

The association aims to bring victims of bomb blasts across Northern Nigeria under one umbrella to speak with one voice and to help show love, care and support towards those affected, and be the voice of the voiceless of her members.

As a result of prolonged neglect of the victims of this bomb blasts across Northern Nigeria, some of those who initially survived the bombings have died, many due to little or no medical care and others as a result of their inability to continue with their medical bills or further their treatment here in Nigeria or abroad.

It is against this backdrop that we  urge the Federal Government of Nigeria to urge all stakeholders and indeed private establishments to do more to support the bomb blast victims over the years by empowering them to start their lives all over again.

We also ask that the funds already gathered for them is used to take care of the victims.

We recognize the strides already made by the Victim Support Fund (VSF) put in place by the former president, Goodluck Jonathan and supported by the present administration but like the proverbial Oliver Twist, we ask for more action on their part to bring reprieve to these Nigerians affected.

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Victims of crime are usually supported by governments through legislation, which provide compensation to victims. But victims of bomb blasts are hardly compensated or at best compensation delayed.

Aljazirahnews recalls that the January 27, 2002 Ikeja Cantonment blast, only 84 out of 154 families were compensated after 14 years of its occurrence.

Much is needed to be done to alleviate the sufferings of bomb blasts victims by government, private individuals and organizations which should include financial and medical compensation, increase in security surveillance, proper rehabilitation of the victims and adequate funding of Disaster Management Agencies.

Victims of bomb blasts who survive may have suffered from one form of injury or the other; some are permanently incapacitated while some have their means of livelihood destroyed.

Under this scenario, the victims need to be put back to their former positions before the blast in terms of reintegrating them into the larger society by making life comfortable for them like providing jobs, loans or financial assistance for their lost businesses or donations by public spirited individuals or groups.

As a result of the challenges which bomb blasts victims face in Nigeria, we further recommend that Disaster Management Centres should be established in all nooks and crannies of the country, particularly in the North-East geopolitical zone where terrorist activities are concentrated.

We hope someday that these victims will have kind words to say to a government whose principal duty is to assist them live a peaceable and comfortable life.

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