Saturday, May 4, 2024

Train attack: Kidnapped victims’ relatives knock Amaechi, NRC over planned service resumption

Relatives of the kidnapped victims of the bandits’ attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train on Friday warned the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and the Nigerian Railway Corporation against attempting to resume train services without rescuing their loved ones languishing in terrorists’ den.

They also lambasted Amaechi for declaring presidential ambition few days after the train attack which claimed eight lives and left 26 travellers injured while scores were kidnapped.

According to them, it was most uncharitable that Amaechi under whose nose the attack occurred as a minister was celebrating rather than resigning after the attack.

Addressing journalists in Kaduna on behalf of other relatives of kidnapped victims on Friday, Dr. Abdulfatai Jimoh, while commending the Federal Government’s efforts, appealed that the process of negotiation should be fast-tracked 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.

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

“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.

“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 restarting 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 the future.”

When asked if the NRC should resume service, he 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.”

Amaechi should resign – Fatima

But another relative, Fatima Ciroma, whose sister is among the victims, regretted that “Amaechi even had the audacity to declare his intent to vie for the presidency shortly after the attack”.

She called on Nigerians not to elect the likes of the minister as president in the 2023 presidential election because “he is inhuman”.

She noted that the minister should have resigned rather than declared for the 2023 presidency.

She said, “the NRC muting the idea of resuming train service is inhuman. It’s not good at all.

“The authority needs to sit down and think about how to rescue those in captivity and not the resumption of train service. What’s train service compared to human lives? Does that mean human lives are not valued by the authority?

“The Minister of Transportation is not helpful. Nigerians should not elect him as president. He shouldn’t be elected at all if this is what he has to offer.”

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