The families and friends of passengers kidnapped by bandits on March 28 during an attack on the Abuja- Kaduna train, on Monday in Kaduna and Abuja, embarked on protests over the fate of their loved ones being held by bandits 42 days after the attack.
Fighting back tears while addressing journalists shortly after the protest within the Nagwamatse House compound located along the Ahmadu Bello Way in Kaduna metropolis, the chairman of the victims’ families, Dr. Abdulfatai Jimoh, said it was sad that nothing tangible had been done regarding efforts to rescue their loved ones.
Jimoh said, “Today marks the 42nd day our loved ones have been held hostage. It has been 42 long days of living in fear, virtually no sleep, no bath, wearing the same clothes, under the scorching sun and rain, and exposed to extreme environmental hazards. The emotional, psychological, mental, and physical torture arising from these conditions are only imaginable.
“Among the abducted passengers are children, some as young as three years old, pregnant women, women including an 85-year-old great grandmother, and others. Some of these victims have health challenges requiring daily medications, which they have had no access to in the last 42 harrowing days.
“We read in the news that one of the two pregnant women in captivity delivered her baby in the forest. Giving birth is supposed to be a moment of joy; how would it have been if this woman delivered her baby in the comfort of a maternity ward? In whose hands and where is the place of birth of this baby, the forest?”
An 11-year-old Ismail Abubakar, whose father was kidnapped alongside others by the bandits, appealed to the Federal Government to ensure the rescue of his father and others languishing in the kidnappers’ den.
He also urged the kidnappers’ to have pity on his parents with others abducted and release them, noting that life has been tough for him since the incident.
18-year-old Rukayatu Jibril also appealed to the bandits to have mercy on her parents and others in captivity.
According to her, life without their breadwinners has not been easy for her and other members of the family.
Addressing Journalists in Abuja on Monday, a representative of the families, Dr Abdulfatai Jimoh, described the attitude of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, on the matter as ‘highly disappointing.’
He said, ‘’We must, however, register our displeasure with the way and manner the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has been handling this tragic event since it occurred. Just a few days after March 28, Amaechi was seen running around the stadium in Port Harcourt where he declared his intention to become the next President of Nigeria.
“We had expected Mr Amaechi should be running around as to how to get his abducted passengers rescued, and this is highly disappointing.’’
He also berated the Nigerian Railway Corporation for disobeying the president’s order to engage with the victims’ families.
Jimoh warned the NRC against resuming operations at the Abuja-kaduna train station without the safe return of those abducted.