Kaduna Train Attack: Relatives of kidnapped victims warn NRC against resumption of services
Families of kidnapped victims of the recent terrorist attack on a passenger train in Kaduna State have warned the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) against resuming train services in the route without rescuing their loved ones from the den of terrorists.
The warning came after the 72-hour ultimatum given to the Federal Government by the relatives of the kidnapped victims elapsed.
Meanwhile, the national leader of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) and former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, has said the deafening silence of the Federal Government with regard to rescuing the abducted passengers was worrisome.
One of the relatives, Fatima Ciroma, who could not hold back her tears as she joined others to accuse the Federal Government of not reaching out to them to sympathise with them over their plights, also described the action of the government as insensitive and wicked.
Specifically, the aggrieved relatives of the kidnapped passengers knocked the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi for declaring his presidential ambition few days after the train attack, which claimed eight lives and left 26 people injured while scores were kidnapped.
According to them, it was most uncharitable that Amaechi under whose nose the attack occurred as a minister could celebrate rather than resign after the attack.
The leader of the aggrieved relatives, Dr. Abdulfatai Jimoh, who addressed journalists on behalf of others in Kaduna, yesterday, noted that after the expiration of the 72-hour-ultimatum handed down to the Federal Government, “we are happy that the government has started discussing with the abductors of our relatives.”
However, he appealed to the government to speed up the process of the negotiation for the release of their loved ones by the terrorists unhurt.
Jimoh, who said it has not been easy for the families since the attack, also warned the NRC against the proposed resumption of train services without first rescuing the kidnapped victims.
He said: “It is true that we gave the Federal Government 72-hour ultimatum, which expired yesterday (Thursday) midnight.
“We are grateful to God that before the expiration of the 72 hours, we heard from the Federal Government after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday through the Minister of Information that the government is already on top of the situation with what has happened.
“We acknowledged it and we appreciate it. But what we want to add is that the government should speed up the process of discussion with them (terrorists) so that they can come out to release our people soonest. This is our appeal now.”
He added: “The NRC should not be talking about reopening their services now when our people are in captivity because what is the assurance that if they start services now people that will be board the train are safe.
“What measure(s) have they put in place to guarantee the security of those that are going to patronise their services? We don’t want the reoccurrence of this.
“The first thing should be to get the captives out and then they can put adequate measures in place and resume services so that this does not happen again in future.”
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, Kwankwaso said he was shocked that insecurity in the country could descend so low within a short period of time.
He said: “I am sure every military man or anybody like me who had the opportunity to associate with the military must be very worried on one hand and would also be surprised with what is happening in the country.
“We heard what happened recently concerning the train attack. Before then, it was the only hope that Nigerians had to go to Kaduna and link up to other places.
“Many people advised that the train would be attacked but nothing was done and people were killed and abducted. Only God knows what they are experiencing but we know it is horrible. They are really not talking about how these people who were kidnapped should be rescued. Government should be more serious about security. As a former minister of defence, I never thought insecurity would go this low in this country within the short period of time. I always sit down to ask myself how did we find ourselves in this mess. What really happened? But as we always say, our issue is leadership.”
The former governor noted that the current political leadership was not strong enough to motivate the military and give them what they require in terms of training, equipment, arms and ammunitions.
Noting that the APC has failed to provide leadership and good governance for Nigerians, he said the NNPP would take over leadership of the country come 2023.
“They (APC government) have the opportunity to do something for this country but they didn’t. Nigerians are angry. Nigerians would do whatever they can to vote and protect their vote. All those involved in the elections, even security are not happy. The election of 2023 will be between those who are happy with the system and those who want change. I can assure you that those who are not happy are much,” he added.