Rob Fitzpatrick, Head of Press and Public Affairs at the British High Commission, in Abuja, told the Nigerian Tribune exclusively that the envoy, by the gesture, wanted to show solidarity to the people affected by the explosion.
He said it was also targeted to encourage others to follow the footsteps of the envoy.
Shortly after the donation, the picture of the envoy donating the blood went viral on the internet and was used to shore up for more blood for the victims.
A message attached to the picture said: “Today’s Abuja bomb blasts left many deaths in its wake, but a lot more people are injured and are currently in danger of dying due to the shortage of blood at the Asokoro General Hospital, as the hospital’s resources are reported to be overstretched.
“To donate blood, visit Asokoro General Hospital, 11, Julius Nyerere Crescent, Off Yakubu Gowon Crescent, Asokoro, Abuja.
“Go straight to the Laboratory or National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) Abuja, No 39, Abidjan Street, Wuse zone 3, Abuja. They will conduct test to ensure the blood is eligible and then they take one pint of blood. It is pretty easy. The test results take a few minutes though.”
Also, the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, condemned the bomb attack in Abuja.
“I was deeply saddened to hear of the bomb explosion in the east of Abuja. I unreservedly condemn those responsible and hope they are swiftly brought to justice.
“I offer the British government’s deepest condolences to the bereaved and those who have suffered injury. We will continue to work closely with the Nigerian government to help them tackle the threat from terrorism,” he said.
‘Bombing, unwarranted wickedness —First Lady
By Leon Usigbe -Abuja
THE First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan, has expressed shock at Monday’s bombing at Nyanya, describing it as “a dastardly act of terrorism and unwarranted wickedness to fellow Nigerians.”
While commiserating with the families of the victims, she also described the killing of the innocent souls during the morning rush hour as a crime against humanity, which must be condemned by all Nigerians.
According to a statement issued by her Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Ayo Adewuyi, in Abuja, on Monday, the wife of the president condoled with the families of those who lost their loved ones in the heinous act and prayed God to grant them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
The statement added that Mrs Jonathan shared the pains of the families of the victims, while also praying that God assuage the pains of the survivors and grant them quick recovery.
APC responsible for bomb blast —PDP
By Jacob Segun Olatunji -Abuja
THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Monday, condemned the early morning bomb blast that rocked the motor park at Nyanya and accused the main opposition, the All Progressives Congress (APC), of being responsible for the dastardly act.
The party, in a statement issued by its national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh and made available to newsmen in Abuja, on Monday, said it was shocked and had remained grief-stricken since it received the news of the gruesome attack and killings.
“The PDP weeps. We are, indeed, grief-stricken. Our hearts go out to the bereaved, especially those who have been made orphans and widows and those now deprived of their breadwinners by this evil act. We share in their pain, their anguish and their loss and pray that those behind their grief must not escape justice,” the statement read.
It added that “we stand by our earlier statements that these attacks on our people are politically motivated by unpatriotic persons, especially those in the APC, who have been making utterances and comments, promoting violence and blood-letting as a means of achieving political control.”
While stating that the attacks could not be justified under any guise, the PDP maintained that they were politically motivated and could be traced to the “utterances and comments of desperate persons, who seek to undermine and discredit the present administration and make the nation ungovernable for President Goodluck Jonathan.”
The party, in solidarity with the people, also shelved all official engagements, while praying God to grant the bereaved the fortitude to bear the losses.
APC calls for national security summit •Says attempt to trivialise issue by PDP despicable
By Lanre Adewole -Lagos
THE All Progressives Congress (APC), on Monday, called on the Federal Government to convene a national security summit, in the wake of the bombing in Abuja that left about 71 people dead.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Lai Mohammed, the party condemned the blast, urging that such national stakeholders would help find a lasting solution to the spate of mindless killings in the country.
The party expressed shock and sadness at the savagery of the attack, while condoling with the families of those killed and praying for a quick recovery for the injured.
It said it was now obvious that all efforts so far to tackle the insurgency in the country had not yielded much fruits, meaning that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led Federal Government lacked the capacity and had clearly run out of ideas on how to tackle the violence.
“It is time for new thinking and ideas to stop this insurgency before it consumes all of us. The attack, right on the outskirts of Abuja, which has been spared this kind of spectacular strike since 2011, means those behind it are getting bolder and bolder, and it’s time to stop them,” it said.
Human rights group condemns attack •SERAP urges FG to end bombing tragedies
THE National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on Monday, condemned the bomb blast in Nyanya motor park, even as the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) said the unlawful and unnecessary killings show that the measures the Federal Government is taking to tackle the Boko Haram phenomenon are inadequate and simply not working.
In a statement by the chief press officer of the NHRC, Fatimah Agwai Mohammed, the Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Bem Angwe, reiterated that there was no justification for the killing and maiming of human beings by any person or group; hence he called on the security agencies to be more vigilant and proactive in their counter-terrorism measures.
He decried the proliferation of small arms and improvised explosive devices which, he said, “exacerbated the precarious security situation experienced in different parts of the country.”
Professor Angwe noted that the violence triggered a series of violations of rights and reminded perpetrators of such violent acts of the need to respect and uphold the sanctity of human lives.
He, however, reminded the security operatives, whom he noted have enormous responsibilities on their shoulders, to always operate within the rules of engagement, so as to avert further deterioration of human rights situation, stressing that the Geneva Convention of 1949 and other international instruments placed a limit to means and weapons of warfare.
The helmsman of NHRC appealed to the families of the dead victims and persons injured as a result of the bomb explosion to be calm and not to take laws into their hands, as the commission would ensure that the various human rights situations were addressed.
Meanwhile, SERAP has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to “show leadership and urgently initiate fundamental changes in the security strategy to end continuing civilian casualties and a climate of insecurity across the country.”
In the statement signed by SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the group said “Nigerians have heard promises from the government before that it would take all possible steps to prevent bombing tragedies and citizens’ deaths and injuries.
“But if this government is to be taken seriously on its promises to protect the citizens, this latest explosion needs to be the last of its kind. The government must now come up with a blueprint to end continuing bombing tragedies.”
Low staff attendance at NASS, Federal Secretariat, SGF office
By Kolawole Daniel -Abuja
DUE to the bomb blast at Nyanya, on Monday, Nigerian Tribune observed that busy areas like the National Assembly, Federal Secretariat, Eagle Square, office of Head of Service, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, among others, recorded low presence of staff and onlookers.
This was as a cross section of Abuja residents, on Monday, expressed shock and disbelief over the bomb blast and subsequently condemned the attacks on what they described as “hapless Nigerians.”
They equally called on the various security agencies to do more in the area of intelligence gathering, saying that incessant killings of innocent Nigerians should be put to end by the security agencies.
Security at the National Assembly was not too tight when the Nigerian Tribune visited the area, as only one bomb detector vehicle and normal security checks was carried out by the operatives in the institution.
In an interview with the Nigerian Tribune, both Mr Ibrahim Odubote and Yemi Dare questioned the competence of the security agencies in handling the security challenges facing the country.
According to Mr Odubote, “it is very sad that innocent Nigerians looking for their daily bread will just die like that. I believe our security agencies should do more in the area of intelligence gathering. The government needs to ensure that security of lives and properties of Nigerians is guaranteed, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”
Mr Dare, on his part, said “security agencies in the country need to justify the huge trillions of naira budget expended on them by the government at all times. What happened this morning is very sad. May the souls of the departed ones rest in peace.”
A taxi driver, Mr Akeem Yekini, expressed shock over low turnout of people at popular Wuse market and Berger, both within the heart of Abuja.
Others who spoke to the Nigerian Tribune also questioned the recent multi-million naira security cameras installed by the government in most parts of the Federal Capital Territory, as they also expressed doubt if the security cameras were working.
It was hell let loose —Eyewitnesses
An eyewitness at the scene of the bomb blast on Monday, Uche Nwankwo, who said it was hell let loose, added that he escaped death narrowly while at a spot close to the scene, arguing with a customer.
“It was the argument that saved me. As we were negotiating, the next thing I heard was ‘gboaaam’ and then the confusion started,” he said.
Another eyewitness, Mimi Daniels, told the Nigerian Tribune at the scene that “I was waiting to get on a bus when I heard a deafening explosion, then the smoke. People ran around in panic.”
Also, Dalhatu Garba said the bomb exploded when most of the buses in the front row were full and ready to convey passengers.
“We just heard a loud explosion and many people died instantly. In fact, many people were scattered into pieces.
“Apart from our buses, many other smaller cars also come in to pick passengers, especially those going on long journey,” he said.
Another eyewitness, who preferred anonymity, said he was calling passengers into his car when he heard the loud sound.
Also, Mr Romanus Ugwu told journalists that he saw a gory sight, as many victims were burnt in cars while some were on the ground, helpless without limbs.
“You have to be hardhearted to look at these things. I saw a woman lying face down without limbs while one, who was surrounded by her children, struggled for life and gave up in their arms.
“These attackers appear to be more proactive than our rescue organisations and security agencies, because so many lives would have been saved if help had come in time, Ugwu said.
Abdulrazak Haruna said “it is a sad experience. We counted 20 BRT buses, 14 cars, 24 commuter buses and 13 motorcycles.”
Femi Lawal, who survived the attack, said he had dropped from one of the buses from One-man Village and was heading to the park when the bomb went off.
According to him, he heard a loud bang, which he said nearly blinded him after which he saw a thick smoke as people ran in confusion.
It’s senseless bombing —US
THE United States, on Monday, condemned a bomb attack on a car park at Nyanya, Abuja and called for a full investigation.
“We are outraged by this senseless act of violence against innocent civilians,” State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki told reporters, while also condemning a series of attacks on three villages in Borno State at the weekend.
President Goodluck Jonathan blamed Boko Haram militants for the attack, but Psaki called for a “full investigation to identify and bring justice to the perpetrators of the attacks.”
President Goodluck Jonathan, sympathising with one of the victims.She added that “we continue to stand with the Nigerian government and people as they grapple with violent extremism.”