Airport closure: NRC transport passengers in special coaches

 Air passengers en route to Kaduna International Airport from Abuja by rail are being conveyed in specialised coaches different from the ones that transport other regular travellers on the same train service.

Similarly, those travelling from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to the KIA were escorted by at least an armed police officer in each of the buses provided by the Federal Government.

The Federal Government officially closed the Abuja airport on Wednesday and diverted all Abuja-bound flights to Kaduna airport. It urged air travellers leaving Abuja to use the Kaduna airport and noted that they could go by rail or road, or use helicopter service, provided they could shoulder the cost.

From the Idu Train Station in Abuja to the Rigasa Terminal in Kaduna, our correspondent, who joined a train ride on Saturday, observed the presence of heavily armed and stern looking security officials at each of the stations.

No fewer than 15 policemen were sighted at each of the stations and they were assisted by men from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

The security presence at the Idu, Kubwa, Jere, Ruana and Rigasa stations were high, as sniffer dogs were also seen in some of the terminals on Saturday.

It was further observed that the stations introduced signages in strategic locations directing air travellers on where to register and board the train.

Hundreds of passengers boarded the 11.55am train service from Idu, which arrived at Kubwa around 12.11pm and got to Rigasa in Kaduna State around 2.20pm, from where airport-bound passengers joined a vehicle that transported them to the KIA.

Morris Igwe, a Lagos-bound passenger said, “I joined the train service because, for now, we’ve not heard or read any negative report such as robbery and the likes about this service.”

An official at the Idu station told our correspondent that air travellers who used the train service must be able to provide evidence to show that they were travelling by air, adding that special coaches were provided for such passengers as their presence had marginally increased those using the service.

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