Tension and apprehension have returned to the Kaduna-Abuja expressway
following the renewed rise of activities of bandits with reports of
killings and kidnapping of many people for ransom, a situation that is
forcing thousands of commuters to travel by train and leaving
commercial drivers in limbo, Daily Trust on Sunday reports.

The bandits had recently killed three persons and kidnapped many
people, among them three final year students of the Ahmadu Bello
University (ABU), Zaria. They were later released with reports of
alleged payment of ransom by relatives even as many other victims are
said to remain in custody of the criminals.

The worse hit by the recent upsurge of the bandits’ activities are the
commercial taxi drivers plying the Kaduna-Abuja route because the
situation is gradually forcing them out of business apart from falling
victims themselves and losing huge amounts of money.

Head of drivers at the Command Motor Park in Kaduna, Emmanuel Ameh,
told Daily Trust on Sunday that the gunmen are attacking and
kidnapping people every day. Ameh said he narrowly escaped the attack
when the bandits attacked and kidnapped people at a bridge after
Rijana village around 8 pm.

According to him, it was the gunshots and people who escaped from the
incident by the roadside that alerted him. He pointed out that on
reaching Rijana after the attack, there were belongings of the victims
littered on the road. Ameh said: “What baffled me is the gunmen
usually change location from one point to another while the police
stay at one location. The police officers don’t patrol the road.  If
you are able to escape and report to the police officers they will
tell you they don’t have fuel to go anywhere.”

Ameh revealed that a good number of the commercial drivers in the park
had decided to abandon their vehicles for fear of being killed or
kidnapped by the gunmen. “I also abandoned my vehicle because of the
fear and continued attacks and kidnapping of people on the
expressway,” he explained.

Ameh appealed to both federal and state governments to get to the
roots of the whole thing, adding that police should also patrol the
stretch of the highway. “The police should track the gunmen in their
hideouts and bring them out because staying at checkpoints would not
solve the problem. You hardly find the police moving on the road,” he

On his part, the Provost of the Command Motor Park in Kaduna, Austin
Alfred, told Daily Trust on Sunday that the bandits attack commuters
at a notorious spot around Olam Farm. “One of our drivers who escaped
the attack is right now receiving medical treatment in the hospital.
In the last month, three of our drivers were affected, two were
kidnapped and one was injured.

“The incident happened around Olam Farm. One of our drivers and a
passenger got injured while trying to escape the gunshots of the
bandits. Our colleagues evacuated the vehicles from the area to a
mechanic garage for repairs,” Alfred said.

Alfred decried the situation many commercial drivers had abandoned
their jobs because of the precarious security conditions of the
Kaduna-Abuja expressway. According to him, nobody wants to risk their
lives by plying the Kaduna-Abuja road, after 2 pm. “None of the
drivers want to ply the road except those from Abuja who want to
return home and can pick passengers back.”

Alfred appealed to the government and security agencies to re-examine
the security architecture on the expressway, adding, “Government
should deploy officials of the Nigeria Security Civil Defence Corps
(NSCDC) to the Kaduna-Abuja road since the police alone have not been
able to tackle the kidnapping problem. Government should try another
paramilitary on the road because I remember when passengers from Abuja
airport were transferred to Kaduna and there were security problems on
the road and NSCDC were deployed to the specific spot, the problems
were tackled.”

The Kaduna State Police Command confirmed one of the incidents in a
statement by its spokesman DSP Yakubu Sabo, saying, that armed men in
military uniform intercepted some commuters along Kaduna-Abuja
expressway and opened fire on the vehicles and in the process
kidnapped six persons.

The statement said, “However, due to the prompt response of the police
and other security agents to the scene, three people were later
released by the hoodlums due to intensive combing within the general
area. The rescued persons alongside the abandoned vehicles were
recovered to the police station. Concerted efforts are still being
coordinated by the joint teams of Anti-Kidnapping Unit, PMF, and the
IRT to rescue the remaining three victims and apprehend the
perpetrators of the crime.”

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