Leadership – The bomb that exploded on the Assembly ground of the Government Senior Science Secondary School, Potiskum that claimed the lives of at least 48 students and injured scores of others on Monday was detonated by an unknown suicide bomber who sneaked into the school dressed like a student, witnesses said.
An obviously traumatised teacher who does not want to be named because of his safety, said the bomb went off from the bag of a young boy who walked up to the assembly ground after an unidentified car dropped him off at the gate of the school at about 7:30am.
The sources said the suicide bomber was dressed in white shirt and black trousers which is the official dressing code for all senior students, and that he was hanging a heavy schoolbag on his shoulder.
“Many of us sighted him as he was dropped off by the car and watched how he confidently walked up to the assembly ground pretending to be one of the students”, said the teacher. “But unfortunately, he was immediately spotted by one of the duty teachers who noticed his odd appearance amongst other students, by carrying a bag to the assembly ground, even though the school is a boarding school”.
“The teacher on duty called his attention, asking him why he had to bring his bag to the assembly ground, but the bomber remained silent, ignoring the teacher. His attitude towards the teacher drew the attention of other students who milled around him to find out who he was. The teacher then moved closer to him, thinking he might be a new student on transfer since most of the students could not recognise him”.
The source said the teacher and some of the senior prefects who were not pleased with the rudeness of the fake student who continued to ignore the teacher, decided to force him to kneel down.
“It was during the process of asking him to observe the punishment of kneeling down that the explosive in the bag went off and unfortunately killed many of the students including the teacher who had inched closer to the scene to see what was happening”.
The source added that he survived because he did not go closer to the scene, thinking it was one of those usually rude students that the teacher was dealing with.
“I thank God that I am alive; but the deafening sound of the bomb affected my auditory system for several hours”, added the source. “Even from the distance that I stood before the blast, I found myself sprawling on the ground after the blast; that made me believe that the blast might have come from a huge explosive device”.
Leadership had also been informed that all the 72 injured students had since been referred to the Federal Medical Centre in Azare, Bauchi State, where the state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam promised to foot all their medical bills.
All schools within and around Potiskum town have been closed by the state government indefinitely.
Meanwhile, the Emir of Fika, Dr Muhammadu Ibn Abali Muhammadu Idrissa has summoned an emergency meeting of all the district heads, ward heads and village heads under his domain at his palace where they brainstormed on how to tackle or avert similar attacks by the Boko Haram.
The Emir of Fika who is also the chairman of Yobe state Council of Chiefs expressed his deep concern about the continuous attacks and lost of lives as result of the Boko haram insurgency.
In a brief address to the gathering of over 30 title holders, the Emir whohad also managed to survive similar suicide bomb attack by suspected Boko Haram insurgents in August 2012, said he was indeed disturbed with multiple explosions in Potiskum town within one week.
“It is unfortunate and saddening that our young school children were murdered while learning for their future. I therefore urge all of you to monitor the behaviours of your children, relatives, neighbours and tenants”, he said.
Anyone asking to rent a house as tenant in your neighbourhood must be thoroughly interrogated so that criminals would not hide in your midsts; you are expected to report to the security agencies any suspicious movements in your domains.
The Emir reminded the chiefs that security of their communities must be a collective responsibility of all and the only means practicable to achieve the return of peace to the state, besides prayers.