The Federal Government on Wednesday, August 3 said the Abuja-Kaduna rail line will not resume until all those kidnapped during the March bandit attacks are rescued and reunited with their families.
An Abuja-Kaduna train was attacked on March 28, leading to deaths and the abductions of more than 60 passengers.
On Tuesday, five of the abducted passengers regained their freedom, bringing the total number of released victims to 37.
However, about 35 passengers remain in bandit captivity. The Federal government now says the train service won’t run until all kidnapped victims are set free.
Speaking during an inspection visit to the Idu and Kubwa train stations in Abuja on Wednesday, Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo said;
It is very important to get those Nigerians that have been kidnapped reunited with their families, otherwise it will appear the government is not sensitive whereas the government is not only sensitive but the government is doing everything it can to make sure that those who have been affected by this abduction are reunited with their families. I think it is an important step to do that first and foremost.
“Secondly, we must put in place adequate security and infrastructural measures to protect and prevent all forms of threats that are possible and leave what we cannot do to God but everything humanly possible must be put in place to ensure that the reoccurrence of this nature is automatically eliminated forever.
“Technology can make that possible and we are trying to deploy the best technology available anywhere in the world that has served very well in other jurisdictions which we believe can also serve us very well in Nigeria.
“We are in the process of procuring the sensors and that is why I said we must ensure that we put in place every infrastructure that will ensure that lives are safeguarded.
“So, the technology that is going to be deployed is such that you can perceive a threat and eliminate it before you get to the location. That is being proactive.”
Sambo continued: “To save the lives of Nigerians is the topmost priority of the government. This railway asset is brought to bear to improve the lives of Nigerians.
“This was the project that was started under the previous administration and unlike the previous administration, we don’t allow any project to be abandoned.
“So, this administration completed it and it’s running it. It is really unfortunate that what happened happened but we must not let that deter us from providing succour to Nigerians.
“The best way to travel as far as I am concerned is by train and by the grace of God, we will make sure these services resume but not until those things I mentioned have been achieved.
“Rescue or reunion of those that have been kidnapped with their families and put in place technology that will ensure that threats to lives are eliminated.”