Kaduna bomb attack
By John Shiklam
It was a chaotic scenario as residents of the troubled northern city of Kaduna yesterday besieged markets, ATM machines, sales offices of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Filling stations and shops.
The desperate residents moved to restock food items and purchase other essential commodities, after being confined to their homes in a 24 hour curfew that lasted for about five days.
Hundreds of people also stormed the motor parks in a frantic effort to live the city.
Although commercial banks did not open for business within the four-hour period of free movement, which commenced from 12 noon to 4pm, there were large crowd of people queuing to withdraw money to meet their basic needs.
There were long queues at the branches of the Guaranty Trust Bank in Barnawa area, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) along Kachia road, and the offices of the PHCN Barnawa.
There was unprecedented crowd in the Sabon -Tasha markets, but the market was deserted apparently for fear of the unknown. But the Central market in the heart of the city was not opened.
At the PCHN office in Barnawa area, there was almost a commotion when after waiting for about 30 minutes to buy the Electricity units; the officials could not attend to the crowd.
The Television Garage and the Sabon Tasha Motor Park were also besieged by many people who wanted to leave the city, but there were no vehicles that were willing to travel out of the city.
Many of the travellers were students and other visitors who were stranded in the city when the curfew was imposed.
Most filling stations did not open for business, however, the few that opened only operated for about two hours and immediately closed, leaving motorist and people who wanted to buy fuel to power their generators helpless.
The Muslims Friday Prayers were peaceful as adherents also rushed to the markets to make purchases after their prayers.
Most of the shops remained closed as many residents stayed away from the city centre where most business activities take place.
The situation was however different at the Station market where business activities resumed in full swing, as residents were seen rushing to make their purchases and go back home in time.
But traders who sell fruits and other perishable items suffered so much losses as items like banana, vegetables, tomatoes and other perishable commodities, abandoned in the market got spoiled due to the curfew.
Several of those who spoke in an interview with THISDAY said they had been under difficulties since the curfew, while their businesses had been paralysed.
“This thing caught us unaware, we didn’t know it was going to last this long. It has brought us untold hardship and our businesses have suffered so much. We are begging the government to take all security measures to ensure peace and stability; otherwise, if things continued like this, we will die with hunger," Mrs Janet Okafor, a business woman said.
Also lamenting the situation, Mr. Dele a retired civil servant said four the past four days life has been very rough.
“This problem caught us unaware and we had been surviving under difficult circumstances. We had to beg our neighbours for almost everything because the food we had in the house couldn't last us for three days.
The 24-hour curfew continues today (Saturday) until on Sunday when it would be relaxed between 9am and 1pm to enable Christians go to their places of worships.