Worsening insecurity along Abuja-Kaduna highway could spell doom for economy

Following fresh attacks on motorists travelling along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, Kaduna State lawmakers in the House of Representatives have raised alarm over the impact of lingering insecurity on that road on the economy.

The caucus, during a press briefing Thursday, bemoaned the state of security along some of the major highways across the country.

Garba Datti (APC, Kaduna), the leader of the caucus, who spoke on behalf of the lawmakers, said if the security situation along the highway is not addressed, it could affect the economy in adverse ways.

He stated that the highway is too strategic to be left in the hands of bandits.

“Abuja-Kaduna highway is the critical gateway between the North and the South of Nigeria and the major link road to the North-west and North-east as well as to many neighbouring countries.

“Abuja-Kaduna highway is the key outlet for the transportation of persons, goods and services across Nigeria and this is evident in the extraordinary traffic on it round the clock.”

He said if the security situation is not immediately rectified, it could spell doom for the economy and the social life of Nigerians.

According to Mr Datti, the security measures put in place to address banditry along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway has failed to address the issue. The “phenomenon of banditry has steadily and increasingly found its way back to the Abuja-Kaduna highway,” he said.

He described the recent surge in attacks, killings, abductions, kidnappings and robberies as “frightening and calamitous.”

He condemned the killing of a retired Director of Protocol of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and a governorship aspirant in Zamfara State, Hamidu Sagir, while travelling on the road.

Mr Datti said the cases of several persons kidnapped on the road have not been reported in the media.

Due to the insecurity on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, many travellers prefer to use the Abuja-Kaduna train service. However, in October, the train travelling on that route was attacked by bandits between Dutse and Rijana. Nobody was hurt in the attack, officials said, but services were disrupted for a brief period.

Tajudeen Abbas (APC, Kaduna), while responding to a question on the ongoing rehabilitation of the road, said Julius Berger, the company handling the project, will work based on the available resources.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had in March approved N797.2 billion for the reconstruction of the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano highway.

The pace of work on the project has been criticised by many including the Chairman of the House of Reps committee on works, Kabir Bichi (APC, Kano).

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