As the federal government restore train service after suspected bandits attacked the Kaduna-Abuja train service on Wednesday, passengers have expressed pessimism over their safety of the train.
The passengers took to facebook to express their frustration said until adequate security arrangement is put in place, they will have to seek alternative mode of commuting to their various destinations.
They, however, urged the federal government to arrest those who bombed the rail track saying its a sign that bigger attack may be planned.
One of the commuters, James Eziechukwu, asked whether it will not happen again asking whether the rail won’t be insecure like the road.
He said, “Where is the guarantee that it will not happen again? The people who bombed the railway line are still around. It will take a longtime to restore the confidence of those plying the route. Where do we go from here? Railways and the roads are no more safe. Helicopter Shuttle transport must be put in place now,” he said.
Another commuter, Voyage Mbasa feared whether if another attack occured, commuters will not be kidnapped and taken hostage.
He said, “I hope we won’t hear another blast soon and I hope this time around alot of commuters would be held hostage?”
On his own part, Okay Ezea said repairing the railway line without arresting the Bandits is putting the cart before the horse.
His words, “They will still bomb it again, Nigerian govt doesn’t know how to handle cause but are after the effect because repairing the rail Line without arresting the Bandits that Bombed it is just like the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu thinking you have ended Biafra Agitation.
Another social media user, Sola o Sola asked how government intend to prevent further attack when the perpetrators of the earlier attack are not arrested and prosecuted.
“Granted that the rail line has been timely repaired, but how does that prevent further attacks if the attackers are not arrested and prosecuted?”
Recall that commuters on the Kaduna-Abuja train corridor have narrated how they were trapped in a secluded area along the Kaduna-Abuja rail track for over six hours on Wednesday when the blast occured.
It was gathered that the train which was the last for the day came to a stand still after the attack.
A former NUJ Chairman in Kaduna, Garba Mohammed, who was on the train, said there was pandemonium as commuters were left at the mercy of few Police officers about 40 klillometers to Rigasa station.
He said all was well when the train took off from Abuja but two sub-station to its final destination at Rigasa, there was a bang and the train gradually halted.
“The lights went off, the AC’s stopped working and we were locked up in the coaches. There was no network, there was no water to drink, people resorted to drinking water from the toilet taps and the toilets became unusable,” he said.
“40 killometers to Kaduna, we heard a loud sound and security agents asked us to take cover. A few minutes later, the security agents were moving around. We had to open the windows because of the heat and we could see the main road from the track where the train had stopped.”
However, the minister of transportation, Chibuike Amaechi over the weekend reassured Nigerians that there would be improved security on the Abuja/Kaduna train route.
He said, ” We want to assure the public that beyond the physical presence of Police and the Military along this track, we will get a rail bus for patrol regularly so that we can see what is happening even before the train takes off, and it will be end to end.
“Apart from this, there has not been any security challenges on this track. What this has done to us is that we would fasten the procurement process of the digital security system that we planned to put in place. It has gone to the Cabinet two weeks ago and it has returned. So, we’ll re-present it to Cabinet to ensure that we get approval for the installation.”
“The essence of the digital security system is to enable us to know when there’s an impact on the rail to forestall this kind of attack. We will get the Police involved so that they will be here before the installation of the digital facility”he said.
Amaechi said , though he may not be happy that the attack occured, fact has shown that Nigerian Engineers are now capable of constructing their own railway.
Hear him, “I am not happy that the security breach took place but what it has done is to show that we actually have the capacity to fix our rail . The essence of this is to make sure that by the time the Chinese leaves we should start the gradual process of constructing our own railway. The repair was done by our own Nigerian Engineers in record time and by Saturday we will run the first train”, he said.