•Another abducted passenger regains freedom
•FG, host communities collaborating on security, says minister
Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City, Adedayo Akinwale and Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, has said that last Saturday’s abduction of train passengers in Edo State was a sad reminder that the country has not completely won the war against insecurity.
Meanwhile, another victim of the train station abduction has reportedly been rescued.
This brings the number of rescued victims to seven.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Chidi Nwabuzor, disclosed this.
Tinubu in a statement issued yesterday by his Media Office and signed by Mr. Tunde Rahman, added that the latest attack was an indication that there were still some agents of darkness lurking around the corner, but assured that Nigeria would prevail over agents of darkness.
The APC presidential candidate described the abduction of 31 passengers who were waiting to board the train at Igueben Station to Warri as another sad episode in the security challenges facing the country.
He said: “I condemn the mindless attack and abduction of innocent train passengers in Edo State by terrorists on Saturday. From available information, the security agencies are working hard to rescue the victims. I urge more collaborative efforts by the federal government, Edo State government and other local authorities on quick rescue of all the victims.”
Tinubu sympathised with the victims who are still held captive by the attackers and urged the federal government, Edo State government and Local authorities to work with the security agencies on quick action to secure the release of all the victims.
He added: “This occurrence is a sad reminder that we have not completely won the war against insecurity and that there are still some agents of darkness lurking around the corner. But I want to assure Nigerians we will win this war. Evil will not prevail over our country because of our strong determination to exterminate the dark forces everywhere they manifest.”
The former governor of Lagos state said the reason why he was contesting was to improve the current security situation in the country.
According to him, “One of the reasons I am running for the presidency is to improve the security situation and tackle every form of insecurity in our country. We have a clear plan to end violent crimes and terrorism through our Anti-Terrorism Battalion Forces, investment in more security hardware and surveillance technology that will make our streets, neighborhoods and forests safer for socio-economic activities to thrive and bloom.”
Tinubu, therefore, commended the rescue efforts of the security agencies that have led to the arrest of some of the terrorists.
After the kidnap of 32 people from a train station last Saturday, one of the victims on that day escaped.
Also, on Monday, six persons were said to have been rescued, and yesterday afternoon, news of rescue of another victim, a woman was reported by security agencies combing the area.
Although the identity of the woman and the details of how she gained her freedom remained unclear, the police confirmed her release.
When contacted, Nwabuzor said: “Yes, a woman has been rescued making it a total of seven persons that have been rescued so far” adding that details would be giving later.”
Meanwhile, the federal government has disclosed plan to establish the Nigerian Railways and host communities’ security committee as part of measures to curb the incidence of armed attacks on railway infrastructure and passengers in the country.
The Minister of State for Transportation, Mr. Ademola Adegoroye, made this known when he visited the Tom Ikimi train station in Igueben.
While sympathising with the victims of the unfortunate attack, the minister noted that, ”the intention of the perpetrators of this heinous crime are to sabotage the good great efforts of President Muhammedu Buhari’s towards the resuscitation of the rail transport service.”
He added: “Henceforth, government will take proactive measures to forestall train station attacks in the country and ensure safety of passengers and facilities.”
Adegoroye in a statement yesterday in Abuja by the Ministry’s Director, Press & Public Relations, Henshaw Ogubike, said one of such steps would be the establishment of a collaborative initiative between the Nigerian Railway Corporation and the host communities to ensure that security is beefed up at the railway stations.
The minister who solicited the cooperation of the host communities in this regard, maintained that it was in the best interest of the host communities to ensure that federal government investments and personnel are protected.
Adegoroye alleged fears that the rail transport system would be shut down, stating that the, “Federal government remains undeterred. The Nigerian Railway Corporation remains undeterred and that is why we will continue to operate this rail service.
“We are not going to stop. All we need to do is to ensure the safety and security of our people and our passengers.”
He assured that security operatives were on the trail of the assailants, adding that the government would do everything possible to bring the perpetrators of the heinous act to justice.
Also speaking, the Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okhiria said train services on the Warri-Itakpe corridor has not been halted, noting however that the train would not be making a stop at the Tom Ikimi Train Station for the mean time.