by Lekan Adetayo
President Goodluck Jonathan with the Chief Medical Director, Maitama District Hospital, Dr. Adetoun Adetimehin, (l) and victims of the Emab Plaza bomb blast (r) during the President’s visit to the hospital in
President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday admitted that the activities of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, have curtailed his movement and prevented him from going to wherever he loves.The President hurriedly returned to the country on Thursday evening from Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, because of the bomb blast at Emab Plaza in Abuja.The blast at Emab Plaza in Abuja, occurred on Wednesday shortly after the President left Nigeria for the 23rd Ordinary Session of the African Union’s Summit of Heads of State and Government.According to his itinerary released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President was initially scheduled to return to the country on Friday after the summit.But, the President, who visited EMAB Plaza on Friday, urged Nigerians to bear the pains and restrictions that could be imposed on them as security agencies work hard to end insurgency in the country.He said even as the President of the country, he had been having his fair share of the pains associated with containing the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents as he could not go to everywhere he would have loved to visit.“We all bear some pains, from the highest to the least because as a President, I may not go to everywhere I would have loved to go, these are some of the challenges I have to face,” he said.Jonathan had in May, 2014 called off a visit to Chibok, the town where over 200 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram members on April 14, 2014.He was scheduled to stop over in Chibok on his way to a conference in France.Jonathan, while speaking at the Abuja bomb blast scene, described the insurgency as one of the darkest phases of the country’s history.The President, who arrived at the scene at about 11:10am, was briefed at the spot where the bomb went off by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba.He was accompanied by the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu; his Chief of Staff, Brig.-Gen. Jones Arogbofa; and other senior government officials.Jonathan spent about five minutes before moving under tight security to the Maitama District Hospital where those who sustained various degrees of injuries in the explosion are being treated.After he was conducted round the wards where the injured victims are being attended to by the hospital’s Chief Medical Director, Dr. Adetoun Adetimehin, the President spoke with journalists.He said it was regrettable that while some Nigerians were busy engaging in nation-building, others were busy killing their compatriots.Jonathan assured that the perpetrators of the act and their sponsors would be arrested and brought to justice.He assured Nigerians that insurgency would end.Jonathan said, “It is quite regrettable and extremely painful that when some Nigerians are struggling, thinking about how to contribute to the nation’s development, they are working very hard to take care of their families, train their children, others are busy planning to kill people, intimidate people, destroy peoples’ property. It is regrettable.“It is one of the darkest phases in the history of our nation, but surely we will get over it. Some other countries have passed through such cloud before and they were able to overcome it and sail through.“We share the pains of the people who have been directly affected, the pains of their families, but we will surely pass through this ugly phase of our history. The perpetrators of this, those who are directly involved and those who sponsor them will surely be brought to book.“I will use this opportunity to continue to plead with our citizens that under such situation, security operatives will come up with different options that sometimes will create some inconvenience for us, instead of condemning them, let us bear.“Even for our citizens, under such condition, we have reached some level of restrictions and some pains, instead of shouting and insulting security operatives, let us give them maximum cooperation, give them relevant information.“All countries that face terror suffer the same thing, citizens give maximum cooperation to the security operatives and help to contain and control, surely we will get over this.“We are all mourning. I remember that very day we had a football match to play and all Nigerians were celebrating the Eagles hoping they were going to win, then this act came up, I was airborne then, it was when I got down in Malabo that I got the information. Surely, we will get through this.”A mild drama, however, played out inside one of the hospital wards where one of the male victims of the blast requested for assistance from the President to start a business.The patient, whose left leg was heavily bandaged, told the President that he was selling recharge cards in the plaza when the bomb went off.“Na recharge card I dey sell for Banex plaza. I don’t have a job. See what I dey go through. Since yesterday, I can’t sleep. I finish school since, no job. I can’t go and steal, na recharge card I dey sell, sir. If people can help me to start better business to start my life again,” he told the President in pidgin English. But Jonathan kept urging the man to first thank God for his life and every other thing would follow.“We are happy you are alive. Thank God you are alive,” he told the patient.The President’s visits to the two places came barely 24 hours after Vice-President Namadi Sambo made similar visits.Abati, in his Twitter handle, had said the President decided to return to the country on Thursday in response to the bomb blast.