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I Predicted Terror Attacks On Train – Amaechi

  The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, on Tuesday said he predicted the Monday attack on the Kaduna-bound train coming, lamen...

 

The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, on Tuesday said he predicted the Monday attack on the Kaduna-bound train coming, lamenting that he had requested digital security apparatus to forestall such incident.

The visibly angry Amaechi told reporters that the attack would have been foiled if the procurement of the N3 billion high capacity rail track cameras and sensors was not blocked. He said the equipment would eliminate all blind spots on the train corridors across the country.

The minister, who spoke during a visit to the scene of the attack, also said eight persons died in the terrorist attack while 25 persons were injured and hospitalised. He added that 398 passengers were on board.

He said, “We knew what the problems will be. We know we needed to have digital security equipment on the corridors. We applied for it. Let me just stop here so I don’t hurt so many people. But I heard the president has given a directive that the procurement must be completed immediately.

“If we had those equipment on the tracks, you will see the entire track. And we warned that lives would be lost. Now lives were lost. Eight persons dead and 25 persons in the hospital. We don’t know how many people have been kidnapped. And the cost of those equipment is just N3bn. The cost of what we have lost is more than N3bn.

“We have lost track. We have lost locomotives and coaches. We have lost human beings. And the equipment is just N3bn. To fix the damages will cost more than N3bn. To imagine that we just said give us the approval and not even the money. At the time we asked for it, Dollar was N400, and now its about N500. When you come with sincerity to government and people are stopping you, it is annoying.”

We gathered from sources at the Kubwa and Idu train stations that at least 10 bodies were evacuated.

Amaechi said contacts tracing of passengers had started to identify everyone on board the train.

He added, “The Kaduna state government and the Nigerian Railway Corporation are all trying to make contact with those on the manifest. There are few persons who are not on the manifest like the staff of the NRC, staff of the cleaning contractor, they are not on the manifest and we may not be able to completely account for them but those on the manifest. calls are being made to reach them.”

The Nigerian Railway Corporation hasn’t released manifest of those on the train and has yet to officially release casualties figure and the extent of the damage.

The Chairman, NRC, Ibrahim Alhassan, said the attack was anticipated and measures were taken to avoid it.

Alhassan said:” Two months back, we got information that some people were carrying out cognizance of the tracks.

”And the information was passed to the relevant authorities and I think some things were done and nothing happened.”

He said it was unfortunate that the attack occurred, adding that the NRC was doing all that was necessary to abate such reoccurrence.

”We would like to thank Nigerians, our passengers, and people who patronise us, their families, we would like to offer our condolences, our concern, and sympathies, we hope with God Almighty, this thing never repeats itself again.

”We are going to, on our part, take some measures. To do our own scheduling thing like that and i believe the government and security agencies will come to our assistance with more help and assistance. I believe we are going to overcome this.

”It is not going to deter us, honestly, we are not going to give up because of this.

”The only thing we want is the cooperation of everybody, especially people living along the corridor, when they see any suspicious activity, they should report such.

”I believe people should help us to help all of us,” Alhassan said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that during the minister’s inspection, Gidan train station and the community around were attacked by bandits.

The train with the minister and his entourage heading to Abuja from the visit to the scene of Monday’s attack was made to stop for some minutes before proceeding on the trip.

Security personnel were, however, seen around the area after the staff of NRC was said to have fled the scene.

This is the second attack within 24 hours along the same axis.

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