With the deployment of 300 female soldiers by the Nigerian Army to the deadly Abuja-Kaduna highway last week to boost the security situation, communities along the highway have expressed satisfaction that the first batch of 100 female soldiers who arrived Kaduna has brought succour to commuters.
Daily Trust recalls that the first batch of the Women Special Operations Battalion of the Nigerian Army Women Corps was received by Governor Nasir El-Rufai last Wednesday.
However, our correspondent on Monday toured at least 50 kilometres of the road from the Kaduna axis and came in contact with police officers and personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on the highway but did not meet the female soldiers.
It was gathered that the soldiers were not stationed on the road but were expected to patrol the highway and environs to complement the already existing Operation Thunder Strike.
Villagers at Unguwan Hausawa Dutse located on the highway told Daily Trust that the soldiers who are usually camped at the Alheri Prayer Village along the road have been seen on daily patrols.
Our correspondent however observed that Alheri camp was under lock and key.
The Village Head, Dikko Sani, said he saw the female soldiers on patrol on Sunday, adding that: “I was very happy when I saw them on Sunday while they were on patrol and I pray and hope that their coming will bring security to the highway.
“With them, we feel safer and have trust in Allah to guide them in securing the road because there have been many challenges on the road, many have lost their lives, while many have experienced kidnapping,” he said.
Adamu Danlami, a black marketer along the highway, said: “I believe that what a man can do, a woman can do it even better. I pray that God will give them the wisdom and skills to achieve success in this task they have been given.”
Mustapha Ahmed, a vulcaniser on the Gadan Gayan axis of the road, said the spate of insecurity on the road was caused by its deplorable condition which forced vehicles to slow down to avoid the potholes that exposed them to kidnappers.
He expressed hope that the deployment of the female soldiers would if not bring the many cases of kidnapping and armed banditry to an end but reduce it to the barest minimum.
Daily Trust reports that there was heavy vehicular movement as commuters including private and commercial vehicles were seen plying the road.