On the 24th May, Saturday night in the Bauchi Road area of Jos, Plateau State was a quiet night bubbling with barely contained excitement.
Over 400 viewers were glued to the many television sets at a viewing center watching the EUFA Championship League finals match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, when they unknowingly cheated death.
As they were watching the match, a suicide bomber had tried to no avail, to gain entry to the center.
This is the story as The PUNCH reports;
Over 400 football fans cheated death in the Saturday night bomb blast that rocked Bauchi Road area of Jos, the Plateau State capital. Three people were confirmed dead on the spot in the blast while the fourth died on Sunday morning thus raising the death toll to four
Our correspondent who visited the scene gathered that the lone bomber had targeted a television viewing centre where youths were watching the finals of the EUFA Championship League match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
One of the football lovers at the centre, Muhammed Ibrahim, said over 400 youths were watching the match when the incident happened.
“The viewing centre is large. Television sets were placed at various points and it was crowded and in fact, over 400 of us would have been killed had the bomber succeeded,” he said.
Another witness, Alhaji Garba Ahmad, who said he lost his senior brother, Bello, in the blast, told our correspondent that the bomber had first attempted to enter the viewing centre but was prevented by a barricade erected along the road.
“He then turned back and tried to enter through a garage, but also encountered a wall between the centre and the garage,”Ahmad said.
He added that in frustration, the bomber packed the car, a Honda Odyssey, in front of a house.
Ahmad said, “When we saw the car, unusually packed in front of our house, my brother challenged him. He told my brother that his car had a fault and wanted to repair it. My brother then asked him to take the car away. Sensing something unusual I went inside and asked all the members of our family to leave the house. Just as my brother was persuading the man to leave our premises, he (the bomber) entered the car and immediately he started it. It exploded and killed my brother, his son and his friend.”
It was also gathered that the bomber had gone to the viewing centre earlier in the day.
An official of the National Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Mohammed Suleiman, told our correspondent that the agency received a distress call at about 9 pm on Saturday and immediately rushed to the scene to carry out a search and rescue operation. He said that three people died on the spot, while the body of the fourth person was discovered on Sunday morning.
A member representing Jos North in the Plateau State House of Assembly, Mr. Ibrahim Hasaan, who visited the scene along with the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of Jos North Local Government Area, Dr. Sanda Wakili, said that the recent bombing in an exclusively Muslim enclave was an indication that nobody was safe in the country.