Union seeks caution in resumption of Abuja-Kaduna train services
The Nigerian Union of Railway Workers (NUR) has commended the Federal Government for the release of the remaining 23 abductees on the Abuja-Kaduna train service while cautioning that the resumption of the service should not be rushed into.
Secretary General, NUR, Segun Esan, made this disclosure to The Guardian, saying it is good news that was long awaited.
While restating that the mandate of the rail transport industry is to run and operate train services for hauling freights and passengers from one point to another, Esan, however, said in as much as they will love to resume operations, such shouldn’t be rushed into,” he said.
He said all concerned; particularly the Federal Government and Nigeria Railway Corporation’s (NRC) management should ensure that potent and effective measures are on ground to guarantee safety of lives on trains, around the stations, as well as NRC assets.
“Where all these are guaranteed, trains can run. We are only concerned about lives in and around the trains and stations. We are equally concerned about safety of our hard-earned fixed and movable facilities like trains, wagons, tracks and station buildings, among others,” he said.
Also, a former Dean, School of Transport and Logistics, Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. Samuel Odewumi, insisted that a protection coach of specially-trained and appropriately kitted commando force that can engage in a firefight with bandits without exhausting ammunition for at least 30 minutes should be put in place before resumption.
He added that there should be an arrangement where backup must be activated within 30 minutes of firefight engagement.
He, however, queried: “If it is a release by the bandits, what was the ransom? If it was by the military operation, what are the details? After all, the capture of Osama bin Laden was documented on camera. Such gives faith in the capacity of the military by citizens.”
Recall that the victims were kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists during an attack on a moving passenger train in Kaduna on March 28, 2022. The hoodlums, who attacked the AK9 Train in Kaduna, had before now, released hostages in batches, with the last release being on August 19, 2022.
The insurgents had blown up the rail track and bombed the moving train, killing some and abducting more than 60 passengers. The unprecedented attack had attracted international and national outrage.
Distraught family members had protested several times to demand the release of their loved ones.
Worried about the situation, the NRC temporarily suspended activities, with President Muhammadu Buhari directing security agencies to rescue victims after he met their families.