Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Train attack: ‘N3bn would have prevented this tragedy’ – Amaechi

Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, on Tuesday revealed that he warned about the attack on the Kaduna-bound train on Monday, complaining that he made a request for digital security apparatus to prevent such incident.

Amaechi who appeared to be angry, told journalists at the scene, that the attack would have been forestalled if the procurement of the N3 billion high capacity rail track cameras and sensors was not blocked. He said the equipment would ensure the elimination of all blind spots on the train corridors across the country.

The minister, who spoke during a visit to the scene of the attack, also confirmed that eight people died in the attack while 25 persons were injured and hospitalised. He added that 398 passengers were on board.

He said, “We knew what the problems will be. We know we needed to have digital security equipment on the corridors. We applied for it. Let me just stop here so I don’t hurt so many people. But I heard the president has given a directive that the procurement must be completed immediately.

“If we had those equipment on the tracks, you will see the entire track. And we warned that lives would be lost. Now lives were lost. Eight persons dead and 25 persons in the hospital. We don’t know how many people have been kidnapped. And the cost of those equipment is just N3bn. The cost of what we have lost is more than N3bn.

“We have lost track. We have lost locomotives and coaches. We have lost human beings. And the equipment is just N3bn. To fix the damages will cost more than N3bn. To imagine that we just said give us the approval and not even the money. At the time we asked for it, Dollar was N400, and now its about N500. When you come with sincerity to government and people are stopping you, it is annoying.”

Our Correspondent gathered from sources at the Kubwa and Idu train stations that at least 10 bodies were evacuated.

Amaechi said contacts tracing of passengers had started to identify everyone on board the train.

He added, “The Kaduna state government and the Nigerian Railway Corporation are all trying to make contact with those on the manifest. There are few persons who are not on the manifest like the staff of the NRC, staff of the cleaning contractor, they are not on the manifest and we may not be able to completely account for them but those on the manifest. calls are being made to reach them.”

The Nigerian Railway Corporation hasn’t released manifest of those on the train and has yet to officially release casualties figure and the extent of the damage.

Newswatchplus learnt that most of those kidnapped were VIP passengers.



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