October 1, 2022

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FG rules out resumption of Abuja-Kaduna train operation soon, says it’ll be insensitive

FG rules out resumption of Abuja-Kaduna train operation soon, says it'll be insensitive

The Federal Government has ruled out the possibility of resuming the Abuja- Kaduna train operation anytime soon, saying it will be insensitive to do so with some of the abducted passengers still in captivity.

Speaking with newsmen at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, Minister of Transportation, Mua’zu Sambo said the resumption of the suspended Abuja-Kaduna train service following an attack in March, would translate to insensitivity on the part of the government as relatives of some kidnapped passengers still in captivity are still traumatized.

He, however, assured that while efforts are being made to free the remaining train attack victims from captivity, the federal government is also working to have technology- based solutions that will monitor the tracks and prevent a recurrence of the Kaduna-bound train attack.

The minister said the government is looking at the best options in terms of surveillance, including concessioning it in a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement.

Asked when Nigerians should expect to see the trains back on their tracks, the Minister said, “If I give a timeline, I will be lying to you. It will be insensitive to restart the service if some families weep day and night over their family members still in the bush.

“We need to have a surveillance and monitoring system on the rail track that would ensure that such incidents never happen again. So, we are pursuing these two things at the same time, trying to get the victims of the kidnap released and at the same time looking for the best solution in terms of surveillance.

“We are looking at so many options, we want to go for the best one, a sustainable one and don’t forget, ultimately, whatever we have as a template between Abuja and Kaduna, that succeeds, would also serve the thousands of kilometers of rail lines across the country. I think this is as much as I will give,” he said.

The minister said the government is mindful of the cost involved but should be able to report definite progress in about a month.

Meanwhile, the minister said the Council approved a contract for the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) worth about N1.49 billion for the repair of cranes.