What Next On Abuja-Kaduna Rail Line?

<strong>What Next On Abuja-Kaduna Rail Line?</strong>

A recent report has it that the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, has completed work on the damaged portion of the Abuja-Kaduna rail track, following the terrorists’ attack on March 28 which grounded service with damning consequences.

That occurrence was largely seen as a national tragedy, with some citizens killed and many still trapped in the den of their abductors after the rail bombing.  

No fewer than nine persons were killed given the figures released officially. Those abducted include an aged woman, a nursing mother, among several others. Unconfirmed figures still hover around 140-145 as those still being held captive by the bandits.

However, what is new is a release made available to newsmen by NRC, stressing that the train line between Abuja and Kaduna has been restored even as it failed to provide updates on the persons still in the custody of their abductors.

Signed by Niyi Alli on behalf of the corporation’s Managing Director, Fidet Okhiria, the statement read: “The connection of the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service, AKTS line has been achieved. This implies that the major track components ,concrete sleepers and rails, have been completely laid. The south end of the tracks ,which was destroyed by the explosion, has been successfully joined with the north end. Track access between Abuja and Kaduna is now restored”.

The document stressed that the technical team continues with other track works including ballasting, temping, fastening of accessories ,clips, bolts and nuts, and welding.

“As we have mentioned in our earlier releases, the Abuja – Kaduna Train Service will resume soon with additional security measures put in place.

 “Passengers will be required to provide their NIN registration for verification prior to purchasing train tickets. This is for improved passenger profiling and safety on-board.

“The corporation is committed to the safety of all our passengers and staff on board the ill-fated Ak9 train service. We will continue to collaborate with security agencies to ensure all persons being held are rescued unhurt and reunited with their families, soonest.

NRC noted that it would continue to pray for the repose of the souls of those who lost their lives in the unfortunate attack and prayed that Almighty God continues to grant the families of those who lost loved ones the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. In addition, prayed for the full recovery of those injured in the ill-fated AK9 train service.

NRC said in compliance with Mr. President’s directive, they encouraged those still looking for a loved one or for an update to contact its situation room whose numbers were provided.

As much as NRC has exhibited an uncommon character in restoring the damaged rail line in record time, there are a few unanswered questions.

Why is the corporation silent on the numerous persons still in the abductors’ den, but merely urging loved ones to report any particular case to the authorities? That appears a form of negligence and a move that would psychologically haunt victims’ relations as there is no assurance from that expressiveness that it was working out adequate responses to ensure their release.

Besides, NRC said it was going to resume services on the route soon without assuring the public that it has established adequate measures to forestall future untoward occurrences. Such an assurance is necessary to instill public confidence in the system which for a while was a popular option against other transportation modes on the route.

While we do not expect the authorities to explain details of any security measures adopted so as not to sell out, it needed to broach the matter, given the already tense atmosphere the last incident has aroused.

We see a measure as providing NIN by passengers before obtaining tickets as puerile, given large scale ticket racketeering that goes on in the various train stations. Tickets were easily transferable in the past and it is doubtful if the mere presentation of a NIN would be of any reasonable measure.

AljazirahNigeria continues to emphasise with those whose relatives are still being held and urge the authorities to do all within its capacity to ensure their release. The over one hundred persons still in captivity are worrisome and deserve a dogged effort to secure their release. We commend the military and other agencies for their efforts so far and urge that they rely further on intelligence than use of force alone to further their course on the issue.

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Abuja-Kaduna railBanditrynrcterrorism