… As JNI says Abuja-Kaduna train attack highly condemnable, reprehensible***
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) says it will work relentlessly with security agencies to ensure the rescue of those kidnaped in the March 28 bandit attack on an Abuja-Kaduna-bound passenger train.
NRC’s Managing Director, Mr Fidet Okhiria, disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen on Monday.
He said that the corporation was working assiduously with security agencies to ensure that the abductees were rescued and reunited with their families.
“We are committed to the rescue of our passengers and staff who were on board the ill-fated Ak9 train service.
“We shall continue to collaborate with security agencies to ensure that all persons being held are rescued unhurt and reunited with their families.
“Our heart goes out to those who lost loved ones and those injured in the attack who is now recuperating,” he said.
The managing director stated that 191 out of the 362 validated passengers on board the train had been confirmed safe and were in their various homes.
“Five others were confirmed safe on April 4. About 46 phone numbers on the manifest are still either switched off or not reachable.
“Thirty-three phone numbers are ringing but not answered and 62 phone numbers are responding to be non-existent,” he said.
Okhiria said that so far 22 persons had been reported missing by their relatives while eight persons had been confirmed dead.
He stated that there were 20 crew members onboard the train.
“Seven NRC staff, five are safe and two missing.
Ten janitors, six are safe, three are missing and one is dead.
Also, one caterer is safe while two are missing,” he said.
The managing director said that an additional coach, SP 00020, had been re-railed and moved safely to Rigasa Station.
“This is bringing the total number of recovered coaches that have been safely moved to NRC stations to eight.
“Intensive track repair works have been ongoing to enable the recovery of the remaining coaches and locomotives,” he said.
Okhiria promised to regularly give updates on the incident to avoid speculations and misinformation.
In the same vein, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) has described as highly condemnable and reprehensible the well-orchestrated attack on the Abuja-Kaduna bound train on March 28.
In a statement issued on Monday in Kaduna, the Secretary-General of JNI, Dr Khalid Aliyu, said that the attack was upsetting to every rational mind, adding “the humanity in us is slowly being eroded.’’
According to him, in Islam and by all global standards, the essence of government and governance is solely to protect the five principal cardinal rights of the human race, the most important of which is life.
He said that the train attack on March 28, and the kidnap and sporadic shootings that ensued thereafter need to be seriously investigated and punitive measures meted out to the perpetrators.
“Although, without doubt, the security men exhibited capacity, resilience, determination and dexterity during the rescue operation of the same ill-fated train attack.
“Why can’t the government proactively take the battle to the criminals’ hideouts and wipe them off,’’ the JNI secretary said.
He said that government should direct the security agencies to ransack the enclaves of all criminal elements and deal with them decisively.
“Informants should not be spared, as they are more dangerous than the killers and they should be made to face the right punishment befitting their crime,’’ Aliyu said.
He advised that the intelligence community should beef up their efforts in trying to dig to the root of this phenomena.
Aliyu said as part of the effort to tackle insecurity in Nigeria, the war on drugs should be placed on the front burner as it is the elixir that spurs criminals to action.
“Suppliers, vendors and traffickers of hard drugs and intoxicants must be dealt with decisively.
“The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other security agencies should as a matter of national security note and penetrate into villages, higher institutions, motor parks and recreational or viewing centres, because they are now where hard drugs/substances are being peddled brazenly,’’ the JNI secretary said.
Aliyu said parents, religious and community leaders have a crucial role to play in the fight against illicit drugs/substances pervading most households within our neighbourhoods.
“This should be considered a fight for all and not only for the government,’’ the religious leaders said.
He called on those vested with the responsibility of protecting lives should fear Allah, the Highest and do what is expected of them. Security issues must not be politicised.
“They should be proactive and firm on all matters relating to security.
“We call on all well-meaning Nigerians not to be deterred, but rather should be more optimistic, as with every hardship comes relief.
“We should therefore continue to pray fervently for the restoration of peace, security, prosperity and development, especially in this blessed month of Ramadan.
“We pray Allah, the forgiver of sins and the healer of the ill to forgive the shortcomings of those who have lost their lives in the ill-fated train attack, give their families and associate the fortitude to bear the loss.
“May the injured recover comprehensively and the traumatized regain strength to continue with their respective lives.
“May He also guide the government and the security agencies, give them the wisdom to tackle all challenges head-on.
“We should also pray to Allah to bring a total end to these repeated orgies of insecurity and every other ill bedeviling Nigeria, “Aliyu said.