Nigeria’s emergency agencies and medics are still counting the dead in the suicide bombing of the Abuja office of Leaders and Company, publishers of ThisDay Newspapers at about 11 a.m. today.
Another blast also occurred at about noon at the Kaduna State offices of ThisDay and other newspaper outfits.
Death toll arising from the two attacks is said to be higher than 40 and still counting, said emergency and rescue officials.
The blasts are suspected to have been carried out by the Boko Haram, a terrorist group in Nigeria.
In Abuja, a loud explosion reverberated around the Nigerian capital when a bomb laden vehicle rammed through the back entrance into the printing press section of the office complex, exploding and destroying everything within the press section.
Adjoining buildings around the expansive premises were equally affected by the blast.
Following a recent threat by the dreaded Boko Haram sect to attack media houses over the negative publications the sect had been receiving, Management of ThisDay had barred staff and visitors alike from accessing the office complex from the main entrance and had resorted to the use of the back entrance.
The bomb laden vehicle, whose driver is yet to be identified, was said to have driven fast through a Mechanic workshop close to the back entrance and knocked down the securely locked gates and forcefully gained entrance before ramming into the printing press section where the bomb exploded.
Burnt and smoking flesh belonging to apprentices working at the Mechanic workshop were being collected by officials of Civil Defence and Security Corps, National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA and other security officials at the time our correspondent visited the scene of the blast.
The United States of America Embassy recently attracted knocks from the Federal Government over series of warnings to it’s nationals to avoid Abuja hotels which their intelligence reports indicated would be attacked by the terrorist group.
Security and medical personnel at work at the blast site refused to release any figure of casualties saying they have to complete their assignment to ascertain the level of casualties recorded in the blast.
AFP quoting emergency officials, said at least six persons, have died from the blasts in Abuja and Kaduna.
A local emergency management spokesman in Kaduna confirmed at least three dead there, while a rescue official said at least the same number were killed in the Abuja explosion.
In Kaduna, an office block housing Thisday, The Sun and The Moment Newspapers at Ahmadu Bello Way, by Bayajida Street, Kaduna in Kaduna state, northwest Nigeria was bombed at about 12.05pm.
The Northern Bureau Chief of The Sun Newspaper, Ismail Omipidan confirmed the bombing, adding that the zonal offices of the three newspapers were affected but no journalist lost his life or was injured.
Similarly, the Northern Bureau Chief of The Moment Newspaper, Garba Mohammed confirmed the incident.
However, a member of Red Cross Society at the scene confirmed that his group rescued three persons from the area and they were rushed to the hospital almost at the point of death.
State Emergency Agency Public Relations Officer, Zakare Mohammed said they had taken several people to Barao Dikko General Hospital, Yusuf Damso General Hospital and another hospital in Kaduna for treatment.
Meanwhile, the area has been cordoned off by security agents comprising armed soldiers and policemen. Rescue operation was ongoing as at press time.
Boko Haram militants also last night raided the Nigerian northeastern town of Bajoga in Gombe state, attacking the police station. The casualty figures were sketchy up till this morning. Witnesses said the militants attacked the station with bombs. A nearby bank was said to have been robbed.
—Oluokun Ayorinde, Nnamdi Felix / Abuja & Femi Adi/Kaduna