Under rains of bullets, shocks of bomb blasts and shattered windshields, Ziya’u Yusuf, maneuvered the ill-fated Abuja-Kaduna train to terminus.
Born in 1988, Mr Yusuf is one of the bravest, most efficient and punctual train drivers of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC.
“Ziyau is young, agile and brave. He accomplishes whatever task assigned to him with distinction,” one of his colleagues who preferred anonymity told DAILY NIGERIAN.
Mr Yusuf holds a National Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi, and joined NRC in 2013.
When their train came under gun and bomb attack by terrorists at Rijana bridge on Wednesday at exactly 7:56pm, Mr Yusuf reportedly directed his colleagues to lie down in the crew compartment to avoid bullets.
“The crew compartment received most of the shocks and the bullets. Initially the crew thought it was stone that miscreants often put on the track, but immediately after running over the two ‘stones’, the bombs detonated. The locomotive jumped up a bit and luckily settled back on track. At the time of the blast, then rains of bullets followed. But Ziya’u remained unfazed and kept on accelerating until they ran out of fuel,” said an inside source.
As the main driver during the attack, the 33-year-old later completed the journey in a relief locomotive past midnight.
And despite the shock the of the incident, the brave engineman decided to take morning passengers to Abuja.
At the return journey, the train again ran into landmine planted by the terrorists, but the intrepid youngman braved the hurdle to reach the final destination.