After spending 42 days in terrorists’ den following the attack on the Kaduna-bound train, where nine persons lost their lives and about 70 passengers were kidnapped, families of the abducted victims have expressed disappointment at the government and particularly the minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. They have therefore demanded for his immediate sack.
This is just as they also said that, the train services on the Abuja-Kaduna corridor should not be resumed until all the kidnapped passengers are safely rescued and safety of prospective passengers is guaranteed.
The kidnapped train passengers’ families who addressed a press conference in Kaduna on Monday expressed disappointment in the Transport Minister, saying that, at a time he was supposed to be running round to make frantic efforts to secure release of the kidnapped train passengers, he was running round stadium to declare for presidency of Nigeria.
Leaders of the kidnapped passengers’ families, Dr. Abdulfatai Jimoh and Dr. Ba’abba Muhammad flanked by other family members chanted “Amaechi must go”.
The families equally called for punishment of officials of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) for failure to implement the presidential directive for opening of a situation room to give a minute-by-minute account of rescue efforts to relatives of kidnapped passengers.
According to Jimoh and Muhammad, “We are the families of abducted passengers of the NRC AK9 Abuja- Kaduna bound train attacked on 28th March 2022. Today marks the 42nd day our loved ones have been held hostage. 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.
“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 every day, 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.
“Furthermore, we sought the intervention of the leadership of the National Assembly, which is the people’s court, but nothing has been forthcoming from them.
“We want to extend our profound gratitude to Nigerians, elder statesmen, traditional, religious, and community leaders, and the Nigerian media who have lent their strong voices to this 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.
“Our prayers are that; number one, quick and safe rescue of our family members held hostage. Number two, Abuja-Kaduna train service should not resume until the first prayer is met, 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 demanded.
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