(UPDATED JAN 21 1900GMT) - A series of coordinated bomb attacks on Friday aimed at key government installations in the northern Nigerian city of Kano has killed more than 150 people, with death tolls still rising.
Eyewitness reports said among the installations hit were the police headquarters for the north and the passport office.
Channels Television, an independent broadcaster based in Lagos, said in a Twitter message that its Kano correspondent, Enenche Akogwu, 31, was shot dead in the mayhem by suspected members of Boko Haram.
The apparently coordinated attacks represent one of the worst and most brazen assaults on the country, and follows a Christmas Day bomb attack on a Catholic church near Abuja and another on the UN headquarters in the capital in August, which killed more than 20 people.
"The nature of these attacks has sickened people around the world...There is no place in today's world for such barbaric acts," said UK Foreign Secretary William J. Hague.
A BBC correspondent in Kano said he would be surprised if the death toll was anything less than 100. A mortuary official quoted by the BBC said exact casualty figures were hard to come by as many people were likely still buried under rubble.
Al Arabiya, quoting a hospital source, said 162 bodies were brought to area morgues.
In the Kano attack, at least six explosions could be heard. Eyewitnesses writing on Twitter said security forces moved in as firefighters struggle to bring some blazes under control. An immediate 24-hour curfew has been imposed.
And, in an unprecedented move, Nigeria closed its borders Saturday with Cameroon and Niger, ostensibly because militants move freely from those countries into Nigeria.
With more than 9-million people, Kano is the most populated city in Nigeria after Lagos and is the capital of the predominantly Muslim north. The BBC, which has a correspondent in nearby Kaduna, said the radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram, has taken responsibility.
The attacks come on the tail end of labour disruptions that virtually paralyzed the nation for several days.
As news of the Kano attack spread, the exasperation of ordinary Nigerians came through on many tweets. Wrote a Twitter subscriber named Isha72 in Zaria, Nigeria: "Lord we may never have it as clueless as this again in Nigeria. How much can we take?"
Tweeted another user named Matt: "Where we are headed is not pretty."
One reader writing on the Vanguard Newspaper website said the violence shows it is time for the North and South - respectively predominantly Muslim and Christian - to go their own, separate ways: "When will the Southern leadership stand up and say: 'Enough with this marriage with the core North?'"
Several foreign governments, including Canada, have re-issued advisories against travel to Nigeria.
- HUMNEWS staff