•Survivors speak of their ordeals, say they saw hell, prayed and prayed
•Buhari: No one will hold us to ransom, orders military to be ruthless with terrorists
• Amaechi confirms 8 dead, 41 hospitalised, 362 passengers onboard
•TUC, NMA, NBA, NBTE suffer casualties
•Bank of Agriculture MD, Hassan, niece, others still missing
•Life is near worthless under APC, president, says PDP
Iyobosa Uwugiaren, Deji Elumoye, Chuks Okocha, Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Sunday Aborisade, Udora Orizu, James Emejo in Abuja, John Shiklam, Kasim Sumaina in Kaduna, Seriki Adinoyi in Jos and Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
As many as 200 passengers might have been kidnapped during Monday’s raid on a Kaduna-bound train by dare-devil terrorists in a well-organised operation, THISDAY has learnt.
A THISDAY special investigation discovered that although 398 passengers bought tickets for the ill-fated trip, only a little over 362 checked in and boarded, out of which eight passengers were killed in the attack, 26 injured, and dozens still missing, while several others were unaccounted for at the time of filing this report.
One of the eye-witnesses, who had been hauled into one of the small buses brought by the criminals and later escaped, told THISDAY that from all that he personally saw that evening, it was a well-organised operation, as all the terrorists had a walkie-talkie each for ease of communications.
The lucky passenger, who claimed to have followed their conversations after being put on one of the small bus, said he could hear them in one of their conversations, saying they needed to tidy up the operations and leave quickly, because they didn’t have much time left, apparently being fed with requisite information from those on the other side of the communication.
This passenger, however, said it was on the basis of this, that he took his chances and jumped out of the bus through the window, saying although they turned back to look at him, they hadn’t the time to chase after one victim, when there were scores others already in their net.
“They looked at me and also checked their time, and realised there was no time to look for me and just zoomed off,” the source said, explaining that he took advantage of having followed their communication.
The eye-witness, who said he could recognise all of them if brought for identification, emphasised the fact that they were not only organised but had a rich network of contacts that made their operations and coordination smooth.
While confirming that they took with them many of the passengers, the number of which he could not verify, he said they targeted VIP coach upon demobilising the train, where he was seated too, and started first by shooting the security men onboard the train.
He noted that there were many security men on the train, who obviously were not on the manifest, because they were not added, stressing further that at least, about six of them might have been killed in the operation, aside the eight passengers, who were not so lucky.
Unfortunately, while the development had sounded the alarm bell across the country and exposing the growing insecurity, Monday’s attack was not the first time that the Kajuru station came under threat by terrorists, who had wanted to make an incursion into that sector of the economy.
They Were Small Boys, Not Nigerians, Who Kept Shouting Allahuhakubar, Survivors Recount Ordeal
However, some of the other survivors of the train attack, have also begun to share their own ordeals too in the hands of their attackers, saying those who attacked them seemed more like non-Nigerians and ‘small boys’ between the ages of 18 and 20, who shouted Allahuhakubar repeatedly as they rained bullets on the train.
Three of the the survivors at the St. Gerald Catholic hospital, however, described their ordeal as horrible.
One of the survivors, Maimuna Ibrahim, who was shot on the thigh, said it was a horrible experience.
“We saw hell. I prayed and prayed and prayed,” she said, adding, “I went to a workshop in Abuja in the morning and I was on may back to Kaduna that same day after the workshop. I was shot on the thigh. But the bullet did not touch my bone. The bullet penetrated out of my thigh.
“Honestly, we suffered seriously, but thank God soldiers came and they really helped us”, she said, adding that, she was unable to walk after she was shot and soldiers had to carry her out of the train to a vehicle by the expressway.
“I was unable to walk, it was the soldiers, who carried me on the back to a the vehicle that brought us to the hospital. They were able to pass over the cliff, carrying us on their backs. Seriously, they tried, because it was not easy climbing the cliff,” she said.
According to her, “The terrorists were moving about in the train, but they did not come to where I was seated. I was hit by the bullet through the window. They entered SP17. As they were shooting, the police security on the train asked us to lie down on the floor of the train so that the bullet will not get at us.
“Unfortunately before I could lie down, the bullet hit me. I saw the terrorists from the window. They were many, they were small boys of between the ages of 18 and 20. They appeared like Fulani. They wore turbans. They don’t look like Nigerians. They were shouting Allahakubar.
“They abducted some people. I saw them forcing people out of the train. They were beating them as they were taking them out of the train.
They were shouting Allahuhakubar, Allahuhakubar as the shot sporadically,” she said.
Speaking too from her hospital bed, another survivor, Fatima Shuaibu, a student of College of Education, Gidan Waya, Kaduna State, said her sister was killed in the attack. She was being treated for dislocation on her right leg.
“My sister, Zainab Awal, was shot on the stomach and she died,” she said amid tears.
Shuaibu said she was seated by the window when she started noticing flashes of touch lights.
Initially, she thought it was the villagers around the area, but when she suddenly heard a loud explosion and the train went off track, she knew there was trouble as her heart started palpitating.
She said, “I was seated by the window in the train. Suddenly, I started seeing flashes of touch light, this was around 8pm. Then, there was a loud bang as if something exploded. Then the train went off track as if was falling down. We started shouting and praying.
“As soon as the train stopped, we started hearing gunshots. The security personnel on the train announced that everybody should lie down on the floor of the train. They attacked the VIP couch, they abducted some people and took them to the bush, they shot other people. They operated for about two hours or so before soldiers and Airforce arrived and they exchanged gunshots.
“The terrorists came with five Sharon buses and motorcycles. Those who were abducted were taken away in the Sharon buses. The terrorists were small boys of between 18 to 20 years. I saw them, they don’t look like Nigerians. The soldiers rescued us in the train. Those of us who were injured were evacuated from the train. They climbed the cliff with us and took us to the expressway, where vehicles were brought to carry people.
On his part, also from his hospital bed at St. Gerald, Mohammed Isa, who was shot on his right arm, said the whole episode was like a dream.
“I was seated by the window and they shot me on the right arm. There was an explosion and the train lost control and went off track. All of a sudden, they started shooting at the train from afar, then, they started coming closer. When they got to the train, they attempted to force the door open, but they couldn’t. So they shot at the door and it opened.
“They were speaking Hausa. It took quite some time before soldiers came and they exchanged fire with them,” he said, corroborating the accounts of others.
Yusuf Idris, ex- spokesman to Zamfara State’s former deputy governor, said Alhaji Ibrahim Wakkala was shot in the leg and was currently receiving treatment in a medical facility in Kaduna.
“He is responding to treatment very well. He is answering phone calls in his bed. I spoke to him and several other people spoke to him also. There is no cause for alarm,” Yusuf said.
At the Army, hospital, journalists were prevented from seeing the victims.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has visited victims of the attacks in the hospitals.
In a statement issued after visiting the 44 Nigerian Army Referral Hospital and St. Gerald Catholic Hospital on Tuesday, the state government condemned the terrorist attack on the Kaduna-Abuja train.
The statement expressed sympathy and solidarity with all the passengers, and extended its condolence to the families of the those that died in the attack.
The statement signed by Muyiwa Adekeye, spokesman to El-Rufai, stated that, the governor and his deputy Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, had visited the injured in hospitals.
“The governor prays for the peaceful repose of the souls of the deceased persons and wishes the injured persons speedy recovery,” the statement stated, stressing that, “while the evacuation of passengers from the scene of the attack has been completed, efforts are still being made to account for all the passengers, crew and security officers that were on the train.”
Buhari: No One Will Hold Us to Ransom, Orders Military to Be Ruthless, Directs Integrated Security Surveillance
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, in his first reaction to Monday’s terrorists’ attack on an Abuja-Kaduna train, which killed many people and left several hospitalised, said his government would not let anyone hold Nigeria to ransom.
The president, who reiterated his call on the military to be ruthless with terrorists and other criminal elements, however, directed the security agencies to arrest the perpetrators of the attack and also ensure, without further delay, the release of all the kidnapped passengers on the ill-fated train.
In addition, the president has further ordered the immediate implementation of integrated security surveillance for the Abuja-Kaduna and Lagos-Ibadan rail lines.
On his part, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who visited the scene of the attack, yesterday, confirmed the death of eight passengers, and 41 others said to be receiving treatment at the hospital, while putting the total number of the passengers on board the train at 398.
However, new information emerging from the attack, has shown that the Secretary-General of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Barrister Musa Lawal Ozigi, and a lady medical doctor with the St. Gerald’s Hospital, Chinelo Megafu, were among those killed by the terrorists.
A former deputy governor of Zamfara State, Malam Ibrahim Wakkala, who was also on the train, reportedly sustained a gunshot wound on the leg, and among those currently receiving treatment at the hospital.
At the same time, the Managing Director of the Bank of the Agriculture (BoA), Alwan Ali Hassan, and his niece, were reported to be part of the missing passengers on the train.
Buhari gave the directive at the State House, Abuja, after being briefed by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor and service chiefs as well as the Inspector General of Police, among other top military officers, about the attack by terrorists on the Kaduna bound passenger train.
He charged the security chiefs to bring back all passengers kidnapped and ensure that each of the terrorists were hunted down and made to face justice for their heinous acts as no one or group should be allowed to make the country prostrate.
President Buhari, who reiterated his earlier directive that the military should deal ruthlessly with terrorists, asked them to be more decisive and not spare anyone unlawfully wielding the AK 47 weapon.
“No one should be allowed to hold the country to ransom,” the President said as he strongly condemned the bombing of the passenger train, which he described as a “matter of grave concern.”
According to him, “Like most Nigerians, I am deeply pained by this occurrence, the second of its type, which has resulted in the death of a yet to be determined number of passengers and others, who suffered injuries.
“The attack on the train, a safe means of transport to many, is callous; and our thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers for the injured,” he said.
The President commended the Law Enforcement agencies for their prompt response and emergency personnel, who were responsible for the evacuation and treatment of the injured persons.
He also directed the immediate conclusion of all the processes for the implementation of the integrated security surveillance and monitoring solution for the Abuja to Kaduna railway line, adding that this be extended to cover the Lagos-Ibadan railway line.
He further directed the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) management to speedily repair the damaged lines and resume normal service without delay.
Briefing newsmen after the closed door meeting with the president, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Irabor said, “We have come to brief the President regarding the unfortunate incident of yesterday, where some criminals, bandits had gone to lay improvised explosive devices on the rail tracks and a passenger train was demobilised and seven Nigerians were killed, 29 others wounded and some were kidnapped and we are yet to establish the exact number.
“So, we went to the scene this morning, inspected the entire area and gave out instructions on what is to be done and we have come to brief the president on this development.”
The CDS said security agencies would build on the lessons they have learnt from the latest incident, while assuring Nigerians that the military and other security agencies would not rest on their oars until everywhere was secured.
According to him, “The challenge of insecurity is a constant one and so the defence and security agencies need to be on their toes 24/7. This is unfortunate and we believe that the lessons out of this are what we need to build upon going forward.
“I can, perhaps, use this opportunity to reassure the nation that based on the President’s directive, we will take every necessary action, not just to apprehend those behind this dastardly act, but for them to also face justice. Going forward, certainly there will be greater security for the nation and I will like to urge everybody to go about their normal duties.”
Apart from the CDS, others who took turns to brief the president were the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Faruk Yahaya; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao; Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, as well as the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Major General Samuel Adebayo and the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS),Yusuf Magaji Bichi.
Amaechi Confirms Death of 8 Passengers, 41 Hospitalised
Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday, confirmed the death of eight passengers, and hinted that 41 persons were currently receiving treatment at a undisclosed hospital following Monday’s terrorists attack on an Abuja-Kaduna train.
Amaechi, speaking to the press after inspecting the scene of the bomb blast at Rijana, along the Abuja-Kaduna rail corridor, put the total number of passengers at 398.
“We don’t have all the figures of missing persons, kidnapped and those injured at the moment. The numbers we have is that there are eight death and 41 passengers at the hospital.
“So, we have to wait on the security and the Kaduna State government and the Nigerian Railway Corporation are all trying to make contact with those on the manifest,” he said.
Amaechi added that there were a few persons, who were not on the manifest like the staff of the NRC, staff of the cleaning contractor, were not on the manifest and might not be able to completely account for them, noting that for those on the manifest, calls were being made to reach them.
“We have not being able to install the security sensors, because the procurement process is a bit difficult. It is typical of Nigerians. To shorten the process and save lives like this but because the process is tedious, the approval is also tedious, we have not been able to get that approval that will lead to purchase those items.
“If those items were here, drones alone will tell you that there are people around the rail tracks, because there are drones, there are equipment that pick sensors if you touch the track but unfortunately the process has not been able to get us that approval for us to import those items. So, for me, I am devastated and I honestly don’t know what to tell Nigerians anymore,” he said.
He explained that the cameras in the train could not pick what was happening outside, stating, “What you need is a camera that shows 100 metres away from the train, there are unknown things carrying gun. Then, we can take precaution but we have done all we need to do in the ministry of transport and we have forward to them for approval but we have not gotten approval.
“The patrol vehicles are available but they cannot reach everywhere. For the areas the patrol can patrol, it will forestall. We are thinking about the possibility of employing natives until we get those equipment. We also need helicopters, beyond the drones, we need helicopters.”
On the suspension of the train service, Amaechi said, “The Kaduna state government has advised that we stop it but on whether there is a need, there is a need, because there are those who work in Abuja and go back home in Kaduna. So, we have to provide those service but if it’s going to make us lose lives, we may have to stop it but I don’t think that is the solution.
“The solution is not in running away from the militants or the bandits; the solution is providing the technology that lets you know that they are around. If it lets you know that you are around, there are two actions to take – either for the security men to go after them or you don’t ply within that period but the agencies that need to give us approval have to give us the approval, because we need to purchase those items.
“No matter the cost, you cannot equate it with the eight lives that were lost. The equipment were just N3 billion and we are about to place order for the one in Lagos but we need to know what is happening on the track, it is everywhere in the world. The ministry of transport has finished everything, the other agencies are not under me.”
On perimetre fencing, Amaechi said: “The man was doing it but he was not paid and even for areas that have the fencing, they are being demolished and it is high enough to protect one from criminals; it is just for cows.
“What we need is technology that lets you know that there are human activities or foreign activities on the track, that way, you can secure the locomotive and secure lives and I had warned earlier that it is important they get us this approval, because human lives would be involved. Since that warning till today, we have had two incident.
“What kind of due process is that? When I say due process, it does not necessarily mean BPP but whatever agency it is, they need to get us approval so that we can get out of cabinet. Even if they get us approval, it will take some months to acquire them from overseas to install them.
“We need to do that to enable us see from Kaduna-Abuja, Itakpe-Warri and from Lagos-Ibadan what is going on so that we don’t continue to lose lives, because lives are important. If we don’t do that, more persons will die. The cost was about N3 billion and the damage here is more than N3 billion. So, if we had gotten the approval, we would have saved the N3 billion and saved lives.”
TUC, NMA, NBA, NBTE Suffer Casualties
As Nigerians and the world continue to mourn with families of those who lost people in the Monday train attack in Kaduna, information trickling in has indicated that the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), also suffered casualties of various categories.
While some of the associations were still in search of their members, presumed to have been kidnapped by the terrorists, others have identified their members as among those who suffered injuries and were being treated, while some had announced outright, the passing of their members.
The TUC, an official statement stated, lost its Secretary General, Comrade Musa-Lawal Ozigi, and the Kwara State Chairman, Comrade Akin Akinsola to the train attack, whilst on their way to Kaduna for an official assignment slated for yesterday.
The NMA too has expressed sadness over the death of one of its members, Dr Chinelo Megafu Nwando, in the terror attack.
President of the association, Prof. Innocent Ujah, said in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Dr Aniekeme Uwah, that the body was deeply saddened by the tragic, horrific and preventable death of Nigerians during the incident.
Nwando was reported to have lost her life from injuries sustained from gun shots, when the train she travelled in from Abuja to Kaduna was attacked by suspected bandits.
The NBA, on its part, lost Tibilere Mosugu and Farida Sulaiman, to the cold hands of death. The death of Tibilere Mosugu was confirmed by the NBA Kaduna Branch in an obituary announcement signed by Oguguo C. Anoruo-Enujekwu, publicity secretary of the branch, which prayed for the repose of the soul of the lawyer.
TheNigeriaLawyer also reportedly learnt that one of its members, Farida Sulaiman, died in the train bomb last. She was practicing with Yahaya Mahmood & Co.
Similarly, a director with the NBTE, Abdu Isa Kofa Mata, was killed during the attack. A family source, who confirmed the development, said the deceased was buried in Kano yesterday by 4pm.
Bank of Agriculture MD, Niece Among Missing Passengers
The Managing Director of the Bank of the Agriculture (BoA), Alwan Ali Hassan, has been reported as one of the missing passengers in the Abuja-Kaduna train attacked by terrorists on Monday.
Reports had it that Hassan appeared to be one of the victims whisked away by the terrorists with cars they brought to the crime scene. A source told a national daily that Hassan’s line had since been switched off from the time of the attack.
The source added that Hassan boarded the evening train going to Kaduna with one of his nieces.
“We cannot tell if he has been kidnapped or not but we are worried, because we have been unable to reach him since yesterday. His phone lines have been switched off and no one has contacted the bank or any of his family members,” the source close to his family stated.
Senate Tells Military to Bombard Terrorists’ Enclaves
The Senate, yesterday, called on the Army and Airforce to, as a matter of urgency, bombard terrorist enclaves with a view to restoring peace and stability in the country.
The call was made amid resolutions reached, following a point of order raised on “the continuing attacks on communities and public facilities in Kaduna State.”
The point of order was raised by Senator Uba Sani (Kaduna Central).
The lawmaker, noted that terrorists had in recent times stepped up attacks on some communities and public facilities in Kaduna State.
“The latest attacks by these murderous elements took place in some communities in Giwa Local Government, namely Angwan Sarki Yahya, Tashar Shari, Bare-Bari, Tsaunin Natal, Dillalai, Durumi and Jatin Kanwa, all on Yakawada Ward.
“Other places affected include Kaya community, Mai kyauro and Fatika. They killed 50 persons and kidnapped o 100 people. They also made strategic roads in Giwa Local Government no go areas. Not done with their devilish acts, they made an attempt to penetrate the Kaduna International Airport.
“Although the attack was foiled by vigilant security operatives, one person lost his life. When people were trying to come to grips with a week-long wanton destruction of lives and property, the terrorists struck again.”
He, therefore, bemoaned the attacks by bandits on a Kaduna bound train carrying over 970 passengers around Kateri-Rijana axis in Kaduna, just a few kilometers to the Rigasa Train Station in Igabi Local Government Area of the State.
Sani observed that the forests where the terrorists held sway were not impregnable, adding that, “a comprehensive operational plan, executed with high sense of professionalism and responsibility, total commitment on the part of our security forces and the support and cooperation of the local communities will rid Kaduna State forests of these murderous elements.”
Contributing, Senator Gabriel Suswam lamented that Kaduna had become the new theatre of insecurity and said the lingering activities of terrorists in the state made it imperative for the appropriate authorities to take decisive action.
Senator Danjuma La’ah, said if the security situation in the country was not nipped in the bud, political leaders would become the main targets of terrorists.
The Senate, accordingly, in its resolutions, urged President Buhari, to declare full scale war against terrorists, so as to fully secure all our national territory from them in whatever guise.
Attack is Horrifying, Barbaric, Say Northern Governors
The Northern Governors Forum, has expressed shock and fury over the attack on a train along Kaduna-Abuja route by terrorists, saying the attack was horrifying, barbaric, and totally reprehensible.
Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, while responding to the development in a statement signed by his director of press, Simon Macham, said, “The entire governors and people of the region as well as other Nigerians are distressed over the unfortunate attack on innocent commuters by terrorists, who have demonstrated total disregard for human lives and compassion.”
Encouraging security forces to intensify their search and rescue efforts in ensuring that those kidnapped were released without further delay and the fleeing terrorists were arrested and brought to justice, the governors sympathised with the families of those killed as well as those kidnapped or injured.
The forum also commended the armed forces for their quick intervention, which prevented further escalation of the incident.
Lalong said the Forum was working with the federal government and Governor Nasir Elrufai of Kaduna State to ensure that the incident and other recent terrorist attacks on communities in Kaduna were dealt with decisively.
He called for the support and collaboration of citizens by volunteering relevant information about criminal elements throughout the region and the country, as well as supporting the armed forces to carry out their mandate of security of lives and properties effectively.
The governors said more investments were being made into the security sector by state governments within the region as part of the collaboration with the federal government to boost the capacity of the security forces to be on top of the situation.
House Summons Monguno, Amaechi, Sirika, Baba, Others
The House of Representatives has invited some of the key security chiefs in the country, including supervisory ministers for a meeting over the recent attack on an Abuja-Kaduna train.
Those invited included the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd); Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi; Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika; Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal, Isiaka Amao;and Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba.
Other heads of agencies expected at the meeting starting today include, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Department of Security Services (DSS), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Managing Railway Corporation and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
The House urged the federal government through the NSA, Chief of Defense Staff, the Inspector General of Police and heads of other security agencies, to holistically intervene by setting up a Special Security task Force on Airports across the country.
It urged the Federal Ministry of Aviation, FAAN and other security agencies to put a more proactive measure in securing airports, including a modern security surveillance equipment on the perimeter.
The resolutions of the lawmakers were sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance sponsored by Chairman Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji at plenary, yesterday
Moving the motion, Nnaji recalled that about a year ago, armed bandits attacked the staff quarters the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), at the Kaduna International Airport and abducted about 12 persons.
He noted that on Friday, 25th day of March, 2022, there was a horrific armed banditry attack at the Kaduna International Airport, culminating in the death of a security guard of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency.
He expressed concerns that the armed banditry attacks at Kaduna International Airport might escalate to other airports across the country, if not checkmated.
He also worried that no one was safe to travel by air if positive steps were not taken urgently to safeguard airports from banditry attacks, considering the international standards on airport security management as outlined by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Contributing, the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, lamented that terrorists were now essential threats to the country and Nigeria was hemorrhaging.
Hon. Onofiok Luke urged the executive, legislature, federal, state and local governments, to come together and proffer solutions and provide security for Nigerians, which was the primary objective of government.
Obi: Worsening Insecurity Depressing, Disheartening
A former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, has described as shocking, the recent terror attacks on Kaduna Airport and on Abuja-Kaduna bound train, saying the worsening level of insecurity across the country was depressing and disheartening.
Obi, a presidential aspirant for the 2023 elections, in a statement from his Media Office, said the terror attacks in Kaduna and different parts of the country, had become very worrisome and should serve as a wake up call for the government to beef up the country’s security architecture and be more proactive in handling security issues.
He lamented that the challenges of insecurity would be too much of a burden on Nigerians already battling with hardship and poverty.
The former Anambra governor explained that the worsening level of insecurity further aggravated the negative performance of Nigeria’s economy.
While condoling with the families of the bereaved and sympathising with the traumatised passengers, Obi urged the different security agencies in the country to remain resolute in the fight against terrorism in the country.
Up Your Game, Northern Senators Charge Security Agencies
Senators from the North under the auspice of the Northern Senators Forum (NSF), yesterday, expressed shock and outrage over the Monday night attack on Kaduna-bound train, and asked the military to re-strategise in handling the security situation in the North West.
The forum’s chairman and former governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, said the attack was a direct dare at the Nigerian state and its security forces.
Wamakko, who is also chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence, said the loss of lives of innocent and defenceless Nigerians must be halted immediately.
The senators described the attack as “heinous and unforgivable” and charged the security agencies to come together and pursue the criminals.
“It is devastating hearing about the outrageous attack, which was brought to the fore, yet again, the nature of the problem we are dealing with.
“It is sad that the precious lives of defenceless citizens get perished in the hands of callous and merciless terrorists,” Wamakko said in the statement released in Abuja yesterday, adding that, “This is yet another wake-up call not only for our security forces, but indeed all Nigerians – to wake up and be more decisive in ending this menace.
“We condole with His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari, the Kaduna State Government as well as families and associates of those who lost their lives in the attack. But as a tribute to those lost in the attack we must ensure that their lives do not go in vain by bringing the perpetrators to book.”
PANDEF: Attack Is a National Embarrassment
The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has described Monday’s bombing of an Abuja- Kaduna train by terrorists as a national embarrassment and monumental indictment of the nation’s security agencies.
Reacting to the ugly incident in an interview with THISDAY yesterday, PANDEF’s National Publicity Secretary, Hon Ken Robinson, was of the view that the nation’s security architecture has collapsed as the terrorists were clearly sending a message to government that they were in control and could attack anywhere, anytime as they wanted.
The group bemoaned the silence of the federal government on the incident, particularly, the silence of the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, whom it described as someone quick to accuse people of trying to destabilise Nigeria.
While sympathizing with families of the those, who lost their lives in the horrific incident, the Forum called on President Buhari to do the needful by discarding his nepotic disposition and act as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The Abuja Attack is a National embarrassment and a monumental indictment of the nation’s security agencies. These terrorists are clearly sending a message to Nigerian government that they are in control and can attack anywhere, anytime as they want. It shows that the nation’s security architecture has collapsed completely and overwhelmed by this monstrous bandits and terrorists that have made life unbearable for Nigerians.”
Gbajabiamila Commiserates with Grieving Families, Says House to Investigate Attack
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has commiserated with families, who lost their loved ones in the Monday attack by terrorists on an Abuja-Kaduna bound train, saying his spirit was wounded by the tragic attack.
Gbajabiamila, in a condolence message, said the losses to insecurity in the last two decades were needless and must end.
The speaker said the lawmakers had resolved to investigate the circumstances of the tragic attack and the security response, to understand why these security breaches continued to occur despite ongoing investments.
He challenged security agencies to redouble their efforts in finding urgent solutions to the repeated killings.
“My heart goes out to the families, who are now living through an experience that no one should ever endure. The dead, wounded and missing are our brothers and sisters going about their lives. They had families and friends waiting for them to come home last night. Some of them will never go home again.
“Others will live the rest of their lives with the memory and injury of this tragic encounter. I commiserate with the families of the dead and pray for a quick recovery for the injured. I strongly urge the national security agencies to find and account for all the passengers, who boarded that train and whose whereabouts remain unknown to their families and loved ones.”
AbdulRazaq Mourns Death of TUC Chair, Others
Kwara State Governor, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, yesterday, commiserated with the labour unions and the family of the state council of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) chairman, Comrade Akinsola Akinwunmi, who died in the Kaduna train attack.
In a statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye, the governor said, “I send our heartfelt condolences to the family of the trade union leader as well as the labour communities in the state.
“It is my prayer to God to console all that mourn this fine gentleman at this very sad moment. I also condole with the families of all the other victims of the dastardly attack”.
NSIA Gives Police Patrol Vehicles to Boost Highway Security
The Managing Director/Chief Executive, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr. Uche Orji, yesterday, formally handed-over 16 patrol vehicles to the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, to improve the security of the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road.
He said the gesture was extremely important for the NSIA and for the Nigerian people in view of the current security challenges on the highways.
This came as the police IG said seven people lost their lives while 29 persons sustained injuries in Monday’s train attack along the Abuja- Kaduna route.
Orji paid his respect and condolences to the victims of the train attack, adding that the development was a constant reminder of the challenges Nigerians face with security, which the police were at the forefront to fight.
He said the donation which was directed by President Muhammadu Buhari was to “ensure that the work continues to get done and while it’s not sufficient in any way, we hope it will help”.
Responding, the IGP said the donation came at a time Nigerians were mourning the dastardly acts of the “few ones in our society or community that will not want to leave us in peace.
“We have briefed Mr. President of our findings and we will be able to emphatically say that during our tour, we were able to establish that seven Nigerians lost their lives and 29 had injuries.
“This event came at a time we had respite for sometime on the Abuja-Kaduna road, because of the commitment of the security forces to secure the road.”
Life is Near Worthless Under APC, Buhari, Says PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has condemned in the strongest terms, the continuing insecurity and near worthlessness of the lives of Nigerians under the administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC), following terrorist attack on a Kaduna State-bound train on Monday, March 28, 2022.
The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said the ambush of the train by terrorists, who killed many Nigerians, abducted scores of others in an operation that lasted over an hour, confirmed PDP’s stand that the security command and control coordination structure under President Buhari has collapsed.
PDP said More alarming was the fact this particular attack took place within two days of another on the Kaduna International Airport on Saturday, March 26, 2022, a state controlled by an APC government.
The PDP insisted that the complicity of silence by the Buhari administration on the Saturday airport attack emboldened the terrorists to assault the train, a development it said further validated its position that the APC administration had conceded sovereignty over parts of Nigeria to terrorists.
“The continued silence and obvious helplessness of the Buhari Presidency on these deadly attacks on our nation’s key transportation sectors, raise apprehensions of possible complicity at the very top level of the APC administration.
“It is callous and unfortunate that the APC government, in its usual insensitive nature attempted to suppress information by keeping mute over 24 hours after this horrendous attack, which claimed the lives of promising Nigerians among whom was a young medical doctor, Dr. Chinelo Megafu, who was fatally shot in the ill-fated train travel.
“Nigerians can recall the confession by a former APC leader that these assailants are terrorists brought from neighboring countries by the APC as ‘political mercenaries’ to rig the 2019 general elections,” the PDP stated.