Quite frankly, Nigerians are really living in terrible times, last week, precisely Monday, March 28, 2022, unidentified gunmen carried out deadly attacks on a passenger train traveling to Kaduna from Abuja, the capital, blowing up the track and then opening fire on trapped passengers.
About seven people on board the train, reportedly died, while many were injured some others were allegedly kidnapped, according to eyewitnesses account. The attack came two days after Nigerian security forces repelled an assault on Kaduna’s airport that left one person dead.
This latest attack came hours after Information Minister Lai Mohammed lauded the railway line that was opened to passengers in 2016.
“We are proud that in our time Nigerians are once again able to travel by rail, this time in total comfort and safety,” he said in a speech Monday.
The incidents are a particularly brazen demonstration of the deadly violence that is plaguing many parts of Nigeria, especially the northern part, for several years now. Passengers pay more to travel the 100 miles between Abuja and Kaduna by air or rail because cars and buses are regularly attacked on the road linking the two cities.
President Buhari on Tuesday ordered the security agencies to “bring back all passengers kidnapped and ensure that each of the callous terrorists are hunted down,” according to a statement emailed by a spokesman.
Buhari’s administration has labeled the so-called “bandits” accused of destabilizing northern Nigeria as terrorists. The military has struggled to stop them carrying out massacres and mass abductions that have forced thousands of people in the region to flee their homes.
The government has also faced sustained criticism for its inability to check widespread insecurity caused by other organizations, including an Islamist insurgency that’s been active in the northeast for more than a decade and a revitalized secessionist movement in the southeast
However, the passengers were later rescued by Nigerian troops, a Kaduna State official later said in a statement.
“Relevant action agencies were urgently contacted, and robust deployments of personnel were swiftly made to the area to secure the passengers on board,” Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said.
“Efforts are ongoing to convey the passengers from the location and others that sustained injuries have been rushed to hospitals for urgent medical attention.”
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said, the Nigerian Airforce will provide surveillance services on the Abuja- Kaduna railway when operations of the railways, which were suspended after gunmen attacked a Kaduna-bound train on Monday, resume,
Amaechi said the air force surveillance will be in place until the government procured the digital surveillance system which is needed to improve security along the route.
The Nigerian government, in a meeting after Monday’s attack finally approved the immediate procurement of the surveillance system, whose approval had lingered for more than five months.
Amaechi also stated that the government is working to fix the damage caused by the attack on the Kaduna-bound train and that services will resume immediately the repairs are completed.
In a tweet via his official Twitter handle, Amaechi said he has spoken with the Chief of Air Staff on the development.
“I’ve spoken with the Chief of Air Staff; once we are done with fixing the rail track, the trains will resume service with aerial security from the Airforce until the integrated security surveillance & monitoring solution for the rail line is implemented as ordered by the @NGRPresident,” he tweeted.
He, however, did not give a timeline for the completion of the repair on the track and on the train.
It could be recalled that, it was first bombed on October 22, 2022. If this recklessness and terroristic trend is not contended by President Buhar’s government before the administration’s eventual end in the next few months, he will definitely be risking an awful legacy of handing over a finished country to his successor.