Families of the over 100 persons still in captivity of the the AK-9 train attacked by terrorists along the Abuja-Kaduna rail route have slammed the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, for contemplating resumption of operations on the route, while the fate of victims are still unknown.
Hidayat Yusuf, spokesperson for the families expressed their displeasure at a press conference, in Abuja on Monday, urging the NRC to shelve resumption of services plans along the route until those in captivity are safely rescued, as their lived ones wouldn’t have been kidnapped it there was adequate security.
Representatives of the families, Abfulfatai Jimoh, Ba’abba Muhammad for their part said,
“Abuja-Kaduna train service should not resume until the quick and safe rescue of our family members held hostage and adequate security measures are put in place to guarantee the safety of prospective passengers. This position aligns with the prayers of the majority of Nigerians,” they said.
According to them, “it has been 42 long days of living in fear, virtually no sleep, no bath, wearing the same clothes, under the scorching sun and rain, and exposed to extreme environmental hazards.
“The emotional, psychological, mental, and physical torture arising from these conditions are only imaginable.
“Among the abducted passengers are children- some as young as three years old, pregnant women, women including an 85-year-old great grandmother, and others. Some of these victims have health challenges requiring daily medications, which they have had no access to in the last 42 harrowing days.”
Jimoh added that the story of one of the victims giving birth in the forest is difficult to accept in a sane society where there is law and order.
“We read in the news that one of the two pregnant women in captivity delivered her baby in the forest.
“Giving birth is supposed to be a moment of joy; how would it have been if this woman delivered her baby in the comfort of a maternity ward? In whose hands? What is the place of birth of this baby, the forest? While some families have their breadwinners in captivity, others have their wives, mothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, and aunts held down in the bush.
“This hostage-taking has drastically disrupted the living conditions of affected families. Children are crying everyday, with the only question in their mouths being: When are my Mummy and Daddy coming home? What a miserable state!
“Since this unfortunate attack on the Abuja-Kaduna bound train, we believe the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, alongside his security and intelligence chiefs, have been working to rescue our loved ones. We have been given assurances that a positive outcome of these efforts would be apparent soon.
“We must, however, register our displeasure with the way and manner the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi has been handling this tragic event since it occurred. Just a few days after 28th March, Mr. Amaechi was seen running around the Stadium in Port Harcourt where he declared his intention to become the next President of Nigeria.
“We had expected Mr. Amaechi to be running around as to how to get his abducted passengers rescued, and this is highly disappointing. Mr. President also directed the Management of NRC to establish a Situation Room to give a minute by minute account of rescue efforts to relatives of kidnapped passengers.
“Still, one week after this Presidential directive was issued, NRC has neither contacted the relatives of kidnapped victims nor established any Situation Room as directed by the President. This display of gross incompetence and insensitivity should lead to the appropriate punishment.
The representatives noted that they had further sought the intervention of the leadership of the National Assembly, which is the people’s court, but nothing has been forthcoming from them.
The family extend their profound gratitude to Nigerians, elder statesmen, traditional, religious, and community leaders, and the Nigerian media who have lent their strong voices to the struggle both in the open and behind the scene and their prayers for divine intervention.
“We still need this vital support until success is achieved”, they said.
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ROYAL NEWS eCopy March 28, 2022
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