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Train attack: Ango Abdullahi’s son ‘freed’ as SERAP sues Buhari for alleged inaction

By Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna) and Silver Nwokoro (Lagos)
02 May 2022   |   4:14 am
Terrorists have freed the son of Northern Elders Forum (NEF) leader, Sadiq Ango Abdullahi, who was one of the victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack, after alleged payment of an undisclosed sum of money.

[FILES] The train attacked on the Abuja-Kaduna Railway at Rijana Kagarko LGA, in Kaduna.

Terrorists have freed the son of Northern Elders Forum (NEF) leader, Sadiq Ango Abdullahi, who was one of the victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack, after alleged payment of an undisclosed sum of money.

It was gathered that Sadiq, biological son of the former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Professor Ango Abdullahi, was released at the weekend, after over one month in captivity.

Other captives are still with the hoodlums, even as the captors have been reported to woo the Federal Government for negotiation.

The young Abdullahi, who on February 5, 2002 dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was said to be in the business class coach of the train when the gunmen attacked.

Besides, it was also gathered that a former deputy governor of Zamfara State, Malam Ibrahim Wakkala, was among the, who was shot by the terrorists on the fateful Monday evening.

Wakkala was said to have been shot in the leg and was hospitalized afterwards, while of the 15 patients taken to St. Gerald’s Catholic Hospital in Kaduna after the saga, two had been confirmed dead.

Contacted, spokesman for the state police command, ASP Mohammed Jalige, did not pick his calls to confirm Abdullahi’s release.

IN a similar vein, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued the President Muhammadu Buhari administration at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice in Abuja over failure to protect rights to life, security and dignity of victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack and seeming inability to secure their release.

Terrorists had on March 28, 2022 attacked the AK9 Abuja–Kaduna train, killing at least nine persons, wounding several others, and abducting an unknown number of passengers. The victims have remained with the abductors ever since, despite repeated appeals for government to ensure their freedom.

The lawsuit followed reports that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) failed to approve funds for surveillance equipment that could have prevented the attack.

In the suit No ECW/CCJ/APP/20/22 filed last week, SERAP prayed the court to declare that the attack, abduction and killings amount to a failure by government to protect Nigerians and prevent the grave human rights violations.

The organisation is also seeking an order directing the Buhari government to protect, promote and fulfil the human rights of Nigerians, including travellers across the country, by ensuring adequate security and taking measures to prevent attacks.

SERAP is equally pleading for an order directing the Buhari administration to urgently find and identify all the passengers, victims and their families, and to pay adequate monetary compensation of N50 million to each of the passengers and victims and their families.

In the litigation filed together with an application for expedited hearing, the rights group is arguing that, the Buhari government has a legal duty to protect individuals from real and immediate risks to their lives and security caused by actions of third parties such as terrorists.

The body is also arguing that, a fundamental notion of contemporary human rights law is that victims of violations such as the victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack enjoy an independent right to effective remedies, noting: “Rights without remedies are ineffectual, rendering illusory the government’s duty to protect such rights.”

It stated: “The Buhari government has failed to protect the constitutionally and internationally guaranteed rights of the victims of the train attack to life, dignity and security, and their right to an effective remedy.”

In the suit filed by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, SERAP noted: “The Buhari government is under a legal obligation to protect the life of every citizen in the country.

“Remedies logically should be proportionate to the gravity of the harm or violations caused by the government and its agents or by terrorists or unknown perpetrators.

“Human life has a special value and dignity which requires legal protection. It is the principle of international law, and even a general conception of law, that any breach of an engagement involves an obligation to make reparation.”