Abbas Idris, head of the Abuja Emergency Relief Agency has told the BBC that so far they have confirmed 71 people dead and 124 injured but eye witnesses believe the number is much higher than that and say there are dead bodies scattered around the area.
Badamasi Nyanya, an eye witness, said he had seen 40 bodies being evacuated; other eyewitnesses say they saw rescue workers and police gathering body parts.
The 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.
Ambulances have been taking the dead and injured to nearby hospitals.
The blast happened as commuters were about to board buses and taxis to go to work in central Abuja, the BBC’s Haruna Tangaza reports.
This may have been another attack by the Islamist militant group known as Boko Haram, correspondents say.