By Josephine Isaac
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi yesterday confirmed that eight people were killed during the attack. He stated this shortly after he visited the scene of the attack.
“The numbers we have showed that there are eight casualties. There are 25 persons in the hospital and the total number of passengers is 398,” the minister told journalists.
It was learnt yesterday that there was a fresh attempt to attack one of the emergency service trains shuttling between Abuja and Kaduna.
However, it could not be establish whether the attempted siege was on the train conveying the transportation minister or another one as many prominent government officials had visited the scene yesterday.
A source said military operatives succeeded in repelling the assailants based on the security report they received while on the train.
The visibly angry Amaechi told reporters that Monday’s attack would have been foiled if his colleagues (who he didn’t name) did not block the procurement of N3 billion high capacity rail track cameras and sensors that will eliminate all blind spots on the train corridors across the country.
“We knew what the problems will be. We know we needed to have digital security equipment on the corridors. We applied for it. Let me just stop here so I don’t hurt so many people. But I heard the president has given a directive that the procurement must be completed immediately,” he said.
According to him, “If we had those equipment on the tracks, you will see the entire track. And we warned that lives will be lost. Now lives are lost; eight persons dead and 25 persons are in the hospital. We don’t know how many people have been kidnapped. And the cost of those equipment is just N3bn. The cost of what we have lost is more than N3bn. We have lost track. We have lost locomotives and coaches. We have lost human beings. And the equipment is just N3bn. To fix the damages will cost more than N3bn.”
Amaechi said contacts tracing had started to identify everyone on the train. “The Kaduna State government and the Nigerian Railway Corporation are all trying to make contact with those on the manifest. There are a few persons who are not on the manifest like the staff of the NRC, staff of the cleaning contractor, they are not on the manifest and we may not be able to completely account for them but those on the manifest, calls are being made to reach them.”
On his part, the Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan said the Kaduna State government had received from the NRC, the detailed passenger manifest.
According to the documents received, he said 398 passengers bought tickets for the trip, but 362 were validated as having boarded the train through the recognised turnstile.
“Investigations are still ongoing to ascertain the status of the passengers who were onboard the train and remain unaccounted for at the time of this update. Search operations are also being sustained,” he said.
It was gathered from sources at the Kubwa and Idu Train Stations that at least ten dead bodies were evacuated. Besides those killed, the sources said that most of those kidnapped were VIP passengers.