This year’s Democracy Day celebration was on Thursday marked by high security alert and deployment of soldiers and policemen in and around the Federal Capital Territory.
The tension in the FCT was exacerbated by a loud explosion at Kurudu, near Jikwoyi, a development which heightened tension in the satellite communities and adjoining villages, including Nyanya, Mararaba, Karu and Kurudu, all along the Abuja-Keffi Road.
The loud explosion created panic in parts of the FCT and also led to instant deployment of troops in the areas though the FCT Police Public Relations Officer, Altine Daniel, later said that the explosion resulted from blasting of rocks in a quarry at Kurudu.
“There was no explosion or blasts at Kurudu as speculated, it was the blasting activities of the quarry company there that was mistaken to be a blast,” Daniel said.
Since the attack on Abuja by Boko Haram commenced, the activities of quarry operators in the FCT have come under tighter control.
Such quarry operators are expected to apply and receive approval from the Police Anti Bomb Unit before any such blasting of rocks could take place.
Our correspondents who moved round the FCT on Thursday reported deployment of security operatives in strategic locations and public institutions in Abuja and that soldier and policemen were seen conducting checks on motorists in the city.
Some stern looking soldiers also blocked the Abuja—Kubwa Expressway to conduct checks on private and commercial vehicles.
This was the first time security operatives would block the Abuja-Kubwa Expressway since the commencement of campaign of bombing by members of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
Curiously, the soldiers focused attention more on private Honda cars and commercial vehicles loaded with food items and other commodities.
Our correspondents also observed increased presence of personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps along the road.
The situation was the same at the Abuja–Kuje Road, where soldiers conducted screening of vehicles moving into the FCT from Kuje, a satellite community.
The screening of vehicles was further repeated at the Area One, Garki and the City Gate entrance into the FCT by the National Stadium, where soldiers were seen conducting searches on motorists.
The security personnel were also sighted at the AYA and the Kugbo axis of Abuja-Keffi Road.
A military patrol team was stationed at the Eagles Square, which looked desolate as the Democracy Day celebration by the Federal Government was low key.
Policemen on foot patrol were also seen along the Shehu Shagari Way, Central Business District and by ThisDay Dome.
The explosion, which occurred at Kurudu, caused immediate deployment of military personnel, who mounted two check points in the area.
Prior to the explosion, there were no military checkpoints in that part of Abuja.The correspondents observed a checkpoint at Jikwoyi and another by the Army Post Housing Scheme at Kurudu.