By Jessica Onah
A busy bus station in the outskirts of Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, was hit with an explosion this morning as hundreds of people were on their way to work.
71 people have been confirmed dead and 124 injured, officials say.
The powerful blast ripped a hole four feet deep (1.2 metre) in the ground of Nyanya Motor Park, some 16km (10 miles) from the city centre, and destroyed more than 30 vehicles, causing secondary explosions as their fuel tanks ignited and burned, the Associated Press news agency reports.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the blast but extremist group, Boko Haram have been threatening to attack the capital.
The Boko Haram terrorist group last attacked the capital in 2011, when it claimed a suicide bombing when cars drove into the lobby of the United nations building in Abuja killing at least 21 people.
Ambulances have been taking the dead and injured to nearby hospitals.
Eyewitness Mimi Daniels, who works in Abuja, said: “I was waiting to get on a bus when I heard a deafening explosion then smoke,” she told Reuters.
This year, Boko Haram’s fighters have killed more than 1,500 civilians in three states in north-east Nigeria, says the BBC’s Will Ross in Lagos.
Boko Haram, which means “western education is forbidden”, has been attacking schools, villages, market places and military barracks and checkpoints this year in increasingly frequent and deadly attacks. Its mission is to create an Islamic state in Nigeria
The Nigerian government had said the violence was now contained in a small area of the north-east however, it is clear now that this violence is creeping in to the central region of Nigeria and can have even more catastrophic effects if not controlled.