Nigeria: 'Government must show it cares about the weak' says Archbishop

The Nigerian government needs to do more to protect vulnerable people, the Archbishop of Jos has said following a blast that killed at least 40 people in the city on Thursday evening.

Archbishop Ben Kwashi told the BBC that the majority of the victims were poor, and urged President Goodluck Jonathan's government to increase its protections.

"Government must step up, to show that it cares about the weak, about the poor, about those who have no means at all in the society," he said.

Kwashi also added that the bombers did not represent the views of the majority of Nigerian Muslims.

Two bombs exploded near a bus station in Jos on Thursday evening, with the second killing at least 40 people, witnesses have reported.

Casualties from the first blast could not immediately be ascertained and Nigerian security sources could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bomb blasts that bore the hallmarks of Islamist Boko Haram militants killed 118 people in the same area of Jos in May.

"I saw a flash of light and heard a loud boom. Afterwards there was debris everywhere and mutilated bodies," witness Tanko Mohammed said of the blast in Jos's commercial Terminus district. A Reuters reporter counted 11 bodies at one bomb site and 29 at the other.

Boko Haram is a Sunni jihadist movement that has been waging a five-year insurgency to establish an Islamist state in the northeast of the country.

President Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northeastern states last year. The number of attacks has risen sharply since then, in the run-up to elections in February 2015.

The latest blasts came as both Jonathan's ruling party and the main opposition coalition agreed on candidates to contest the elections, in which security is likely to be a major campaign issue. Former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari will be challenging Jonathan at the polls for the second time.

(Additional reporting by Reuters)