5th July, 2011
There was mild relief for commuters in Abuja this morning as men of the Nigerian Army relaxed the rigorous security checks that resulted in heavy traffic jam on major expressways that lead into the capital city, yesterday.
At the Abuja-Keffi Highway where some commuters spent more than five hours for a trip that should ordinarily not take more than one hour yesterday, the soldiers have moved their barricade to the Nyanyan end of the road. This was where the barricade was before the soldiers decided to shift it forward over the weekend.
The shifting of the checkpoint to the Nyanyan end means some motorists living at the Karu end of the city can cut off the barricades on their way to the city centre. It was learnt that the shifting of the barricade was due to directives from men of Brigade of Guards who took over the job of directing traffic yesterday as a result of public outcry over the gridlock caused by the soldiers.
It was, however, observed that there is still heavy traffic build up towards Keffi town. â€œThe situation is far better than it was yesterday,â€ said Mr. Lateef Bamgbose, who told P.M.NEWS he spent four hours on the road.
It was also learnt that the road block mounted at Madalla on the Abuja-Kaduna highway by soldiers has been moved to Deidei and this has facilitated a smoother movement of traffic from that axis into the city.
However, rigorous security checks are still being conducted on motorists and those who want to gain entrance into hotels, military formations, areas around the Three Arms Zone which house the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, and other strategic places within the city.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army and the State Security Services have apologised to Abuja residents over yesterdaysâ€™ traffic problem. Though, there are still long queues in these areas.
â€œIt is appropriate to apologise to peace-loving citizens, especially residents of the FCT and its adjoining communities, for the temporary inconveniences they are experiencing. This has become necessary in the interest of our collective safety.
â€œWe must all continue to remain conscious of the fact that security is everybodyâ€™s business and the effect of such routine security procedures should be considered as part of the little sacrifices we all have to pay for our collective safety,â€ spokesperson for SSS Marylin Ogar said during a chat with journalists yesterday. She added that the road blocks were mounted because of a security report that Boko Haram may be planning to carry out attacks in some places in Abuja.