Why NAF air surveillance was unavailable on day of Kaduna train attack –Amaechi


Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, says trains are usually monitored by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), but bad weather affected air surveillance on the day of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack.


The train was not far from its destination in Kaduna when gunmen blew up the rail track and started shooting at passengers.


Several people were killed, scores sustained gunshot injuries, while others have been reported missing.


Speaking on efforts to improve security arrangements when he visited patients at the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna on Wednesday, he said the air force has resumed surveillance.


He also said additional equipment would be procured and possibly installed before rail operations resume on the Abuja-Kaduna route.


‘But even if we don’t install, we have spoken with the Nigerian Air Force. The Nigerian Air Force used to escort the train, but for the past one or two weeks, they said the weather has been so bad that they can’t fly,” NAN quoted him as saying.


“They said it’s below 500 and if it’s below 500, they will run into an accident. So, they have not been flying. That is why this attack was successful.


 “They said they have resumed flying now and any time we are ready to travel, they will have to escort the train.


“Two, the president has already approved — even though the documents are with the ministry of finance — that we should employ people who will be working on the tracks for the next six to seven months, within which we should have been able to install the equipment.


“So, we intend to employ villagers that will be working on the track. If they see anything they suspect, they should let us know so that we can let the security know.


“All these are measures we will take until we install the security equipment.”


The minister added that the Department of State Services (DSS) would be involved in recruiting the villagers to ensure that those recruited were not informants for bandits.


Amaechi also commended the army hospital for giving the “maximum” medical treatment available to every patient without charging a dime.


“You saw the patients with burns and then the one that has bullet located in her heart. They are bringing an expert tomorrow for that one — a cardiologist — to see if there will be surgery or not to take out the bullet,” he said.


“They said they have only seven (patients) left and the rest have been discharged.


 “The ministry and I think the federal government are grateful to the Nigerian Army for providing such services.


“But one thing I have said to the Nigerian people is to liaise with the hospital management and see how much money they can contribute for the treatment of the patients.


 “Obviously, those drugs are not manufactured here. The experts they are bringing from outside don’t work with the army, so they definitely have to pay them.


“We will try as much as possible to see what contributions we can make to the management of the hospital to assist in taking care of the patients.”

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