By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Maimed and permanently injured people who are victims of terror, violent conflicts, bomb blasts, armed banditry should be in the custody of the states and the nation’s care and its treasury for the rest of their lives.
The Senator who represented Kaduna Central Senatorial zone in the 8th Senate, Shehu Sani made this striking observation during a meeting with victims of Kaduna church bomb blasts, on Saturday, the Boxing Day of Christmas.
Shehu Sani during the meeting he personally organized with victims of 2012 bomb blasts including blind victims of St. Monica Catholic Church Malali, said such victims of terrorism should be considered as those who died in serving their country.
He recalled that 80 per cent of primary schools in Kaduna in the 60s were established by churches in which Catholic Church was a major player, adding that as a beneficiary, those schools were not only built for Christians but also for Muslims.
He said it has been on his mind to visit the church since the bomb blast incident, and expresseed happinenss that the Catholic Church has played important roles in the lives of those of them who were born and brought up in Kaduna State even in area of healthcare.
Senator Sani stated that, “I remember when I was in office as Senator, I had to install solar power system in St. Gerard’s Catholic Hospital in Kaduna because of the gestures”.
Sani also said even though he couldn’t make it because of the turbulent times during his tenure in office as a Senator, he however decided to make the visit as a beneficiary of the church on “this visitation day of Christmas, as a pay back time.”
For the victims, Sani said the eyes and other parts of the body lost to the terrorists bomb blasts, singled them out, even in years after, that they’ve paid their price as obedient and responsible citizens who were serving their faith, the same way Jesus Christ was persecuted and even killed, which is the worst.
Sani who described it as unfortunate, lamented that those targeting churches and its members are also doing it to other faith, adding that no violent attacks on people could force them to covert from their religion except those who’ve no faith.
He also stated that attacks on Churches is an attack on one’s faith, right to live and peaceful existence, adding that as a beneficiary he has seen himself as member of the Catholic Church family.
Responding, St. Monica Catholic Church Priest, Rev father Charles Jakus, thanked Senator Sani for the visit to church for the sake of the victims of bomb blast occurred about eight years ago.
The Priest and his church leaders said they have been following Senator Shehu Sani many years back and his humanitarian deeds across religious boundaries through out the state.
They said the church has been spending on some of the four members of church who lost one eye each to the blast and others, adding that the parish also has over 100 widows including Muslims it caters for.
Narrating their ugly experiences, a victim Patience Galadima said that a tremendous sound went off on the fateful day around 8:30 am while they we’re already in the church and one after another about five minutes later.
She said everywhere was covered with smoke so difficult to see anything because of the darkness. “I was trying to go out of the premises crying that I didn’t want to die there. All my brothers, sisters and nephews with me were nowhere to be found.
“Suddenly, I found my body was covered with water which turned out to be blood. On getting to the hospital, It was discovered that I had lost one eye and I was later transferred to the National Eye Centre alongside four other colleagues who lost their eyes too, treated and discharged with one eye permanently gone,” she said.
The second victim, who simply introduced himself as Sunday, also narrated his ordeal in the same scenario, but noted that they were paying the medical bills themselves.
He however said that after giving the information to a television reporter who interviewed him while on bed, it provoked reaction from government officials who immediately rushed, identified him, and angrily refunded the money back to him and others right in the hospital.