By Naomi Douglas
Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, has said the need to rescue the abducted passengers on AK-9 train who are still in captivity was partly the reason train operations were yet to resume on the route.
The minister stated this during his familiarization tour of the Idu and Kubwa train stations, Abuja.
Accompanied by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, among others, the minister also said the federal government would spare no effort to install the required technological devices along the corridor to prevent future attacks.
He said: “It is very important to get those Nigerians that have been kidnapped and reunite with their families. Otherwise, it will appear the government is not sensitive whereas the government is not only sensitive but is doing everything it can to make sure that those who have been affected by this abduction are reunited with their families. I think it is an important step to do that first and foremost.
“Secondly, you must put in place adequate security and infrastructural measures to protect and prevent all forms of threats that are possible and leave what you cannot do to God but everything humanly possible must be put in place to ensure that the recurrence of this nature is automatically eliminated forever.
“Technology can make that possible and we are trying to deploy the best technology available anywhere in the world that has served very well in other jurisdictions which we believe can also serve us very well.”
“We are in the process of procuring the sensors and that is why I said we must ensure that we put in place every infrastructure that will ensure that lives are safeguarded. So, the technology that is going to be deployed is such that you can perceive a threat and eliminate it before you get to the location. That is being proactive.”
On claims in some quarters that families of NRC staff abducted when the ill fated train was bombed in March this year have been abandoned by the ministry, the minister dismissed same, saying “it is totally unfounded. They are members of staff of the NRC. It will be highly unexpected that a member of your own family is affected in an incident and you have not gone to his or her family.
“It is not possible. We have done that (visited the families) and we are still doing and we will continue to do it until we have got them reunited with their families and by the grace of God, they will be reunited with their families.”
On Port Harcourt-Maiduguri narrow gauge, the minister described the project as ongoing.
“Work is in progress. We are happy with what is happening and there is no going back by the grace of God,” he added.