Over 100 proposals by local and international firms for the security of railways across the country are being submitted daily to the Nigerian Railway Corporation following the bombing of the Abuja-Kaduna train on March 28, 2022, by terrorists, it was learnt on Sunday.
It was gathered that the proposals were due to the declaration of the Federal Government that it would install security gadgets on the facilities to help forestall terror attacks on trains.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had, after the March 28 attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train, stated that the Federal Government through the NRC would install security sensors on the rail tracks.
The minister had said, “I will speak with the President. He is already giving directives. I’m sure by the time we finish the repair of the rail tracks, we would have got approval for the security equipment and we would possibly have installed it.”
On March 28, 2022, terrorists attacked the last evening train on the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service with explosives, leading to the death of some passengers, abduction of many others and the destruction of the train and track.
When contacted for updates on the installation of security gadgets on the rail tracks as promised by the Federal Government, the Managing Director, NRC, Fidet Okhiria, told our correspondent that the corporation was seriously working on securing the trains and tracks.
He, however, noted that the NRC must go through stipulated processes before installing the security facilities, adding that hundreds of proposals were being submitted daily to the corporation for this. “You have to go through some processes to have it installed, but we are working on it seriously,” Okhiria said.
He added, “Everyday we get proposals for security and we receive more than 100 proposals daily on this issue both local and foreign.”
On what was being done to rescue the abducted passengers, the NRC boss stated that the security agencies were the ones handling the issue, stressing that this was not within the portfolio of the corporation. “I cannot speak on that because it is not within my portfolio. The security people are the ones handling that. They are the ones looking out for where they (abducted passengers) are,” he told our correspondent.
He, however, noted that efforts were on to fix the Abuja-Kaduna train service, which had been suspended since March 28, 2022 after it was bombed by terrorists.
Mid last month, Okhiria stated that the corporation had re-railed the last rolling stock that was affected by the bomb and that all 14 de-railed rolling stock, including 11 coaches on the ill-fated train, and two coaches and one locomotive on the rescue train, had all been re-railed.
He said the re-railed coaches and locomotive had been moved from the incident site to NRC’s stations in Idu and Rigasa. To further boost security on its train services, the NRC had also announced last month that beginning from May this year it would start linking the profiles of its train passengers with their various National Identification Numbers.
“The process of linking passengers’ profile to their NIN for improved profiling is ongoing. This layer of passenger screening will commence by May 2022,” Okhiria had stated.