Kaduna train attack: Families of hostages warn against resuming train services

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From Noah Ebije, Kaduna

Families and relatives of hostages of the bandits’ attack on an Abuja-Kaduna bound train have warned the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) against resuming train services until their loved ones held captive by terrorists are released.

They also challenged the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi for declaring his presidential ambition a few days after the train attack which claimed eight lives and 26 injured while scores were kidnapped.

According to them, it was most uncharitable that Amaechi under whose nose the attack occurred as a minister, can only celebrate rather than resign after the attack.

Dr Abdulfatai Jimoh, leader of the kidnapped relatives who addressed reporters on behalf of others in Kaduna on Friday, 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.’

He appealed to the government to speed up the process of the negotiation for the release of their loved ones by the bandits 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.

‘It is true that we gave the Federal Government 72 hour ultimatum which expired yesterday (Thursday) midnight,’ he said.

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‘We are grateful to God that before the expiration of the 72 hours, we heard from the Federal Government after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday through the Minister of Information that the government is already on top of the situation with what has happened.

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‘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(bandits) 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 captive because what is the assurance that if they start services now that 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 service so that this does not happen again in future.’

When asked if the NRC should go ahead and resume train services, the chairman said: ‘We want to believe that they won’t try it and if they do, we won’t take it lightly with them because human lives are involved. We believe they won’t. We believe they won’t because they know what’s at stake.’

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