One year after it was attacked by terrorists, the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) is yet to resume full services on the Abuja-Kaduna rail, Daily Trust reports.
Yesterday marked one year since the train, carrying 398 passengers was attacked by terrorists. The attack on March 28, 2022, which shook the nation, led to the death of nine passengers and the abduction of over 60 others.
Daily Trust reports improved security measures along the route, even though only one train, with a reduced capacity now plies the Abuja-Kaduna train corridor.
In December 2022, the federal government ordered the resumption of the train service on the premise that it has overhauled the security architecture, to safeguard the lives of passengers and the infrastructure worth billions of naira.
The government has incorporated passengers’ profiling in ticketing, with the use of machine-assisted verification of their information.
Similarly, security at the nine sub-stations through which the train plies has been beefed up with military personnel, while the train has cameras and other communication devices.
With the train making a single round-trip daily, several passengers say it does not give room for proper planning of activities. Adamu Ibrahim, a passenger said anyone who missed a scheduled trip would have to wait till the next day to travel.
“Nobody is happy with the situation. Days like Mondays and Fridays, which used to attract large passengers see little patronage. We can’t convey huge passengers again. So we hope the second train is deployed as soon as possible,” said a staff of the NRC.
Despite the improved security, sources confirmed to Daily Trust that terrorists made another attempt on the train in late January.
The attack was however averted due to intelligence report. About 20 terrorists were gunned down between the Rijana and Dutse sub-stations.
“About 20 of the bandits or terrorists were killed by security agents and four motorcycles and weapons were recovered. The security agents had sighted the terrorists and communicated with soldiers from Rijana who engaged them. Passengers were not aware of the incident because the train did not stop,” he said.
This, sources said, led to the February 3rd leaked memo, written by the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, calling for an urgent meeting with the minister of defence and other stakeholders to swiftly act to avert another attack on the train by terrorists.
Sambo’s memo had followed an earlier letter, dated 1st February, 2023 from the Department of State Services (DSS), which drew attention to information that terrorists were planning another attack on the train.