•Kidnapped victims’ families warn against train service resumption
•Gunmen have called me 11 times, reveal why they’re attacking Kaduna –Relative
There are indications that the federal government may have begun talks with the gunmen who attacked an Abuja-Kaduna train late last month, killing some of the passengers and abducting about 70 others.
Relations of the kidnapped passengers told reporters in Kaduna yesterday that following the pressure they were exerting on the federal government, it had gone into talks with the terrorists on how to release those in captivity.
Spokesman for the victims’ relatives, Dr. Abdulfatai Jimoh, said that sequel to the 72-hour ultimatum they gave the federal government to act on the fate of the abducted people, “we are happy that the government has started discussing with the abductors of our relatives.”
He pleaded with the authorities to speed up the negotiation so that the victims might be released as soon as possible.
Jimoh also warned the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) against the proposed resumption of train services without first rescuing the kidnapped victims.
“It is true that we gave the Federal Government a 72-hour ultimatum which expired yesterday (Thursday) midnight,” he said.
“We are grateful to God that before the expiration of the 72 hours, we heard from the Federal Government after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday through the Minister of Information that the government is already on top of the situation with what has happened.
“We acknowledge it and we appreciate it. But what we want to add is that the government should speed up the process of discussion with them (bandits) so that they can release our people soonest. This is our appeal now.”
On reports that the NRC was in the process of resuming the Abuja-Kaduna service, Jimoh said the organisation should not be talking about that now “when our people are in captivity, because what is the assurance that if they resume now people that will be boarding the train are safe?
“What measure(s) have they put in place to guarantee the security of those that are going to patronise their services? We don’t want a reoccurrence of this.
“The first thing should be to get the captives out and then they can put adequate measures in place and resume services so that this does not happen again in future.
“We want to believe that they won’t try it, and if they do, we won’t take it lightly with them because human lives are involved.
“We believe they won’t because they know what’s at stake.”
Amaechi chose wrong time to declare presidential ambition – Fatima Ciroma
Hajiya Fatima Ciroma, a relation of another victim, expressed disappointment at Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi for choosing a time like this to launch his presidential bid.
Her words: “The NRC mooting the idea of resuming train services’ is inhuman. It is not good at all.
“The authorities need to sit down and think of how to rescue those in captivity and not the resumption of train services.
“What are train services compared to human lives? That means human lives are not valued by the authorities.
“The Minister of Transportation is not helpful. He shouldn’t be elected at all if this is what he has to offer.”
Terrorists called me 11 times, told why they’re attacking Kaduna – Atta
A third relation, Dr. Abdulkarim Atta, said the abductors have reached out to him 11 times, and told him that “they had their targets” in ill-fated train.
He said the terrorist told him that it was unfortunate that other people were taken away by them.
Atta, whose 85-year-old mother and sister are among the kidnapped, said that he was allowed by the bandits to talk to his aged mother and sister before the release of the Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture, Alwan Ali-Hassan.
He added that the gunmen told him in the course of their discussion that “the state governor, (Malam Nasir El-Rufai) has been running his mouth and that was why they came to his doorstep and that this is just the beginning. That they would go further than this. I spoke with them.”
Sani Lawal said: “My brother Hassan and his sister-in-law are being held by the bandits. We are deeply concerned that the government is not showing enough concern.
“Up till date, no government delegation has called upon us to sympathise or show concern.
“Let us warn the NRC not to contemplate or attempt to resume train services without rescuing our loved ones in the den of the bandits.
“It is obvious that the NRC is only thinking of how to make money without even thinking of how to put in measures to forestall a repeat of incident in future.”
Kwankwaso knocks FG over inability to rescue abducted passengers
Former Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, has deplored the seeming “indifference” of the Federal Government to the rescue of passengers who were abducted in the Abuja-Kaduna train attack as worrisome.
The former governor and national leader of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) predicted that the 2023 election will be a revolution by the Nigerian masses to remove the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) “for a new Nigeria” .
Speaking in his Abuja home yesterday, Kwankwaso said the thought of building upon what has been done by this government was repulsive to Nigerians who have on a daily basis witnessed the failings which they did not bargain for.
According to him, as a former minister of Defence, he was shocked that insecurity in the country will escalate within a short period of time.
He said: “I am sure every military man or anybody like me who had the opportunity to associate with the military must be very worried on one hand and would also be surprised with what is happening in the country.
“We heard what happened recently concerning the train attack. Before then, it was the only hope that Nigerians were having to go to Kaduna and link up to other places.
“Many people advised that the train would be attacked, but nothing was done and people were killed and abducted. Only God knows what they are experiencing, but we know it is horrible.
“They are really not talking about how these people who were kidnapped should be rescued. Government should be more serious about security.
“As a former minister of defence, I never thought insecurity would go this low in this country within the short period of time.
“I always sit down to ask myself that how do we find ourselves in this mess? What really happened? But as we always say, our issue is leadership”.
Kwankwaso noted further that the current political leadership was not strong enough to motivate the military and to ensure that they are given what they require in terms of training, equipment, arms and ammunition.
Insisting that the APC has failed to provide leadership and good governance for Nigerians, he said NNPP would take over leadership of the country come 2023.
“They have the opportunity to do something for this country but they didn’t. Nigerians are angry. Nigerians would do whatever they can to vote and protect their vote.
“All those involved in the elections, even security, are not happy. The election of 2023 will be between those who are happy with the system and those who want change.
“I can assure you that those who are not happy are much.”