Train Attack: Victims’ Families Knock Planned Service Resumption

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Families and friends of the ill-fated Abuja-Kaduna train attack have warned the Nigerian Railway Corporation not to dare their patience over the planned resumption of train services on the Abuja-Kaduna route.

The families warned that unless their beloved ones were rescued unhurt by the authorities, they would resist any attempt to resume the train services.

They also demanded the sack of the entire management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation for their gross incompetence.

This is just as they claimed that the Managing Director of the NRC, Fidet Okhiria, lied when he said he had been in contact with the families of the victims.

Speaking on behalf of the victim’s families, Dr. Abdulfatai Jimoh, who is the Chairman, told journalists at a media briefing in Kaduna on Thursday that it was unfortunate that 52 days after the abduction of their beloved ones who were still held captive, all the NRC was interested in was the resumption of train services.

Jimoh described the move of the NRC for the resumption of train services as most insensitive, considering the fact that the 61 victims of the train attack were still languishing in the kidnappers’ den.

According to him, the NRC MD also flouted the directives of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), that they constantly briefed victim families on development as regards those in the kidnappers’ den.

“It has been 52 long days of captivity, fear, anxiety, tears, agony, trauma, and recently, despair. We cannot wait for this to come to an end. Amidst this depressing situation, the NRC announced its planned resumption of train services for Monday, May 23, 2022.

“Nigerians have clearly expressed their opposition to this highly insensitive decision of the NRC given that 61 Nigerian citizens are still languishing in the deep forest in the hands of their abductors. Moreover, can the NRC guarantee the safety of prospective passengers?” He said.

Jimoh added the NRC had not lived up to expectation for two weeks, as presidential directives said that the corporation should give minute-by-minute account rescue efforts to relatives, saying that “this task as simple as it is to accomplish has not been attended to by NRC.”

He said, “we have been kept in the dark to continue agonising and indeed some family members are now on the verge of mental instability challenge. One can only imagine the physical, mental, and emotional status of our relatives in captivity.

We, the relatives of abducted passengers, are proud Nigerians with clear identities. We are not ghosts and we are certainly not faceless as alleged by the management of the NRC in their press release.

“The M.D of NRC, Mr. Fidet Okhiria claimed in a recent interview with Arise TV that he has been in regular contact with the real relatives of kidnapped passengers.

“Nothing can be farther from the truth. We challenge Mr. Okhiria to name just 10 of the real relatives he has been dealing with, out of the over 1000 relatives of the passengers still held hostage in the forest.

This deliberate misinformation by Mr. Okhiria is least expected of a public servant of his standing and more so, in a situation that requires utmost sincerity in resolving the current challenge of hostage-taking.”

Jimoh called on the Federal Government to relieve the management of the NRC of their job for gross incompetence.

“The attitude of the top Management of NRC to presidential directives is a clear testimony of gross incompetence and insensitivity to the plight of relatives of abducted passengers and we demand the immediate replacement.

“We would, once again, like to appeal most passionately to Mr. President to direct all security agencies involved in the rescue efforts to accelerate action so that our beloved ones in captivity can be reunited with us soonest,” he added.

The PUNCH had reported that on March 28, 2022, bloodthirsty terrorists planted explosives devices along the rail track and when the Abuja-Kaduna bound K9 train approached the point, the device exploded, causing the train to derail, leading to the death of eight passengers, while many others were kidnapped.

 

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