January 29, 2023

Maritime Today Online

latest news and events in maritime and shipping

Edo train attack: NRC says number of abductees unknown

…. Confirms rescue of two children

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) says it is yet to ascertain the number of passengers abducted by gunmen on Saturday at the Igueben train station in Edo State.

Recall that the train attack, which left many injured including children, saw the abduction of scores of passengers including staff of the NRC.

Managing Director of NRC, Fidet Okhiria who spoke on a television programme monitored by Maritime Today Online in Lagos on Sunday said he cannot categorically state the numbers of those abducted as the NRC is yet to automate and deploy the e-ticketing App at the Igueben train station and others along the Itakpe Warri route.

He noted that the manual notebook containing the list of passengers at the station could also not be accessed at the time of the incident.

He said, “That is why we have not issued a statement on the incident. We are still trying to work on it to confirm those abducted because on Itakpe Warri train service, we have not deployed the e ticketing but we are getting close in deploying the e- ticketing. Before the end of this month, we will go to the Federal Executive Council to begin the process. So, we still sell ticket manually at the station and the unfortunate thing is that the chief and the senior station master were said to be among those that were abducted.

“Normally when you come to the station you write down your name but unfortunately, we cannot find the list but what I can tell you is that average per day, for those going towards Ekehen to Warri, is always between 20 to 30 while those going to Itakpe are usually between 40 to 50. So averagely, we have 50 to 60 passengers everyday at the station. We could not have access to the list because it is a manual notebook that we cannot lay our hand on.

“So, I cannot categorically state the numbers of those abducted and some people also came to see off their relations at the station so it will be fool hardy for anybody to say this is the number of people kidnapped. The person who would have said this is the number of those at the station have also been kidnapped.”

The NRC boss confirmed that two children have been rescued by the police.

Meanwhile, the federal government has condemned the kidnapping incident at Igueben, describing it as despicable and utterly barbaric.

The Director of Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Transportation, Henshaw Ogubuike in a statement on Sunday reassured members of the public that efforts were being made to secure the release of the abducted passengers.

“The Nigeria Police is on the trail of the criminals and have mobilised with a view to protecting the lives and property of the remaining passengers.

“The government is saddened by this unpleasant development and assures on its prompt response to the ugly situation. Further details will be communicated later,” he noted.