Train Attack: ‘We Are Not Scared, Only God Knows When Death Will Come’–Travellers Dismiss Fear On Abuja-Kaduna Road

More Nigerians have resorted to taking the Abuja- Kaduna road despite reports of criminal elements saturating the environment.

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Some of the passengers who spoke to THE WHISTLER said if one is faced with terrorists on one’s journey, then such has been pre-ordained either by fate or a deity who controls the invisible.

Abubakar Munjal who appeared to be in his early 30s, was heading to Kaduna State from the Utako park in Abuja, with his father, when THE WHISTLER sighted him. They were the sixth and seventh passengers in a white shuttle waiting to be filled as of noon time.

The nine-seater shuttle was the fifth and last for the day leaving for Kaduna. So, when the duo arrived, the seated passengers could only wish to leave immediately following the unsafe state of the Abuja-Kaduna road as a result of terrorists activities.

Before the train attack over a month ago, many travellers opted for the railway as a safe means of going to Kaduna. But since the ban on train services after the attack, they have been left with no choice but to travel by road.

“Before now, I used to go to Kaduna by train but due to the circumstances we are faced with, we have no choice than to go by road. But you know everything that happens to you is your destiny from God. So, if anything happens, it is what has been written in your destiny,” Munjal said.

The driver of the bus who sat under a mango tree alongside other park vendors told this website that the March 28 train attack has led to an upsurge in the number of travellers the park records daily.

Asked if the state of insecurity on the road has not reduced his driving confidence, he said, “Why will I be scared? Life is one, anywhere God has said I will die, I will die.”

Another commuter, who identified himself as Samuel, was sighted by our correspondent taking a snapshot of the shuttle’s plate number. He was sending it to his sponsor in Kaduna for safety reasons.

“I am going for a church program in Kaduna. Our branch there is having a convention, and I am to set up the stage and head the media team so the road is the only means since the attack. So the pastor has asked that I take pictures of the bus and plate number for security purposes,” Samuel said.

But this was not the case at the Zuba park in Abuja where the number of travellers had drastically reduced. When THE WHISTLER spoke to the head of the Kaduna line, Zuba park, Muhammed Zuba he said, “Most of our drivers are no longer going to Kaduna again because of the problem that happens on the road.

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“But people are still going to Kaduna but not as before. Before, we used to move 20 to 15 taxis a day but now, we move 10 or even less because of the problem that happens on the highway.”

Unlike Utako park, where confidence was high, many in Zuba expressed fear, yet hope that the road will be safe having been reassured by the high presence of security personnel along the Abuja – Kaduna road.

Zuba, FCT to Zaria, Kadna and Kano Transport

In Zuba park, our correspondent spoke to Abdul who works in Abuja and visits his family in Kaduna every weekend. Since the attack, he had doubted taking the road, but was also tired of waiting, hence his decision to travel home.

He told this website that he had not seen his family for weeks since the Kaduna train incident happened, adding that he could only hope to get to them in good health.

He added, “I am tired of waiting for the train to be repaired. But the truth is, none is safe to travel with at the moment.”

But a security expert who spoke to THE WHISTLER noted that it was important for commuters to take responsibility for their safety by avoiding travelling between 5pm and 8am.

Kabir Adamu, while reacting to questions on the recent state of the Abuja-Kaduna road said, “although there have been few instances when incidents occur in the day time, it was pertinent for travellers to avoid night travels.”

He added, “Almost the entire route is vulnerable to highway blockage and attacks by gunmen. This is because it is almost entirely sandwiched by thick undergrowth some of which lead directly into the ungoverned spaces where the gunmen hibernate.

“The parts that have seen the most incidents have been the off-road between Bwari and Jere, the location in the vicinity of Katari. In addition, incident mapping shows that occurrences are often between 1700hrs to 0800am. Although there have been few instances when incidents occur during the daytime.

“Therefore, the first step for passengers to secure themselves is to avoid travel between 1700hrs and 0800hrs. The second is to have information on the circumstances on the route they can get this from paid subscription services or by having contacts in towns along the routes.

“Third is to be situationally aware and know the signs that are red flags.”

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