The daring terrorist’s attack on Tom Ikimi Train Station, Igueben may have sent more Nigerians into fervent prayers, particularly those with family members missing, even as Government’s pledge to competently protect passengers goes in tatters.
Recall that the Government, arrow-headed by the Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo had, following the year 2022 Abuja-Kaduna train attack, which left several passengers dead or injured; and over 60 persons kidnapped had ignited frantic and almost believable pledges from Sambo, who vowed, that not only would water-tight protective, security measures be entrenched nationwide, but that Government would not reopen the route, until it was certain that chances of any recurrence were totally foreclosed, nationwide.
Consequently, Nigerians were misled to believe that reliable, ‘electronic eyes’ had been introduced, even as the Minister celebrated a phantom introduction of a criterium: compulsory submission of National Identify Numbers (NIN), before boarding any Nigerian train.
The Saturday Igueben attack in Edo State obviously has not helped matters. The terrorists not only picked the Station Manager, to show who was truly in charge of the game, but they also picked the Station Head of Security, before descending heavily, on about 29 innocent, hapless passengers.
“It’s easy to know an unserious Government”, an aggrieved family member of a kidnapped passenger told the Maritime First, stressing that the authorities woefully failed to protect her breadwinner.
Speaking in the same vein, another woman who simply identified herself as Gladys said what should have given her the greatest consolation is now giving her the greatest nightmare.
“My heart sank when the Police, few moments ago, told us that they have begun ‘bush combing’. Can you believe that? I had thought they were using drones!”, she pointedly indicated in painful exasperation!
When reminded that about six persons were already rescued via the same method, she countered that none of the six were members of her family!
Another man, whose name could not be obtained, however while soliloquizing and lamenting the Saturday attack, vividly recalled that a Government which failed to bring the attackers of the Kaduna Train Station to book, last year, cannot honestly, claim innocence of the current attack.
In his sorrows, he particularly noted that the euphoria that welcomed the alleged payment of ransom and release of the last batch, greatly attested, to the authorities cluelessness and thoughtless bungling of the rescue exercise.
In the meantime, the Edo Police Command Public Relations Officer, Police Superintendent, Chidi Nwabuzor has indicated that Bush combing operations were currently ongoing; and 6 persons, all victims of the Tom Ikimi Train Station attack have been rescued; while all relevant agencies intensify efforts towards a timely release of other victims, to enable them, also be reunited with their families.
The Maritime First had earlier gathered, through the State Police Command sitrep, that dare devil terrorists, armed to the teeth with AK 47 on Saturday, swooped on the Igueben Train Station, at about 4.00 pm, shooting sporadically in the air, before finally herding the Station Manager, the Head of Station Security, and about 29 other hapless passengers away, in a cherry- picking manner.
In another development however, the Federal Ministry of Transportation has condemned as ‘despicable and utterly barbaric’, the kidnapping of passengers at Tom Ikimi Train Station, Igueben Edo State.
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, in a statement made available by the Director Press & Public Relations, Henshaw Ogubike also reassured the public, that the security Agencies were already making efforts to rescue the kidnapped Train passengers.
“The Nigerian Police is on the trail of the criminals and have mobilised with a view to protecting the lives and property of the remaining passengers.
“The Government is saddened by this unpleasant development and assures on its prompt response to the ugly situation”, Sambo stated further, assuring that further details on efforts and results would be communicated later.