Nigeria: Train Attack - Deprived of Safer Alternatives, Commuters Forced to Ply Dangerous Abuja-Kaduna Highway

At Kawo motor park, a PREMIUM TIMES reporter saw a crowd of Abuja-bound passengers looking helpless as there were no commercial buses in sight.

With the absence of safer alternatives for travel especially following Monday's attack on a Kaduna-bound train by gunmen, many commuters from Kaduna have now resorted to travelling to Abuja, the country's capital city, via the kidnappers-infested Kaduna-Abuja Expressway.

Monday's attack on the train which lasted for almost two hours led to the death of eight persons while several were either injured or abducted by the gunmen.

After the attack, the Nigerian Railway Corporation suspended operations on the route to enable it to fix the rail track which was destroyed by explosives planted by the assailants.

Frantic rush

On Wednesday residents of Kaduna travelling to Abuja thronged motor parks within the Kaduna metropolis.

At Kawo motor park, PREMIUM TIMES reporter saw a crowd of Abuja-bound passengers looking helpless as there were no commercial buses in sight.

Lawal Yero, a National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) official told our reporter that due to the scarcity of commercial buses, owners of the private cars made brisk business ferrying commuters to the country's capital city.

"Since the train attack on Monday, we witness(ed) more people coming to board cars to Abuja. Before the attack, we hardly get 10 cars a day travelling to Abuja as people used the train to travel to Abuja," he said.

"But only on Tuesday, more than 30 cars conveyed passengers to Abuja before 1 p.m. Today Wednesday and this is just 8 a.m. about 10 cars have left," he added.

Elated drivers

At the Command Junction motor park, travellers were seen rushing to board cars to Abuja.

"We are here and everything is going on well. The traffic is so heavy and we don't even have cars to convey travellers to Abuja. We have to wait for our cars to come back because over there too passengers are rushing back to Kaduna," Friday Michael, a union leader said.

Bayo Ade, a driver told our reporter on his trip to Abuja from Kaduna that he had made good returns in the last 24 hours.

"I have travelled to Abuja twice and passengers are still calling. It is good for us who have suffered because of the train. We don't use to get passengers. Everybody uses the train. Only a few travellers patronise the road transport again from Abuja-Kaduna."

Heightened security

Meanwhile, the road appeared safe as security personnel were seen patrolling known trouble spots along the road.

The situation was no different in Abuja as crowds of commuters were seen trying to get vehicles to travel to Kaduna.

Aminu Wali, an official of the NURTW, and a driver who plies the Kaduna-Abuja road said drivers had witnessed a massive rush from passengers travelling to Abuja.

"I am not sure the cars we have here will be enough for the passengers coming," he said.

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