Abducted railway workers still in captivity over 180 days
Six months after the March 28 terrorists attack on the Abuja-Kaduna passenger train service, four workers of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) are those still held in captivity by their captives.
Since the attack, in which eight persons were killed, and 62 passengers abducted, the NRC is yet to resume operations on that route.
While 168 others were kidnapped or declared missing, as at the last count, 42 of the kidnapped passengers have been released by the terrorists while 35 are still in captivity.
This was disclosed by Fidet Okhiria, managing director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, at a quarterly press briefing at the corporation’s headquarters in Lagos
Some of those already released are a 60-year-old woman, Hajia Aisha Hassan who was said to have been freed due to life-threatening health challenges that deteriorated recently.
The names of the six family members that were released are Abubakar Idris Garba who is the father of four kids, his wife Maryama Abubakar Bobbo, and their eldest son, Ibrahim Abubakar Garba who is 10 years old.
Others include Fatima Abubakar Garba, 7 years, Imran Abubakar Garba, 5 years old, and youngest Zainab Abubakar Garba who is only one and half years.
They also include Mustapha Umar Imam, a professor and a medical doctor at Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto; Akibu Lawal, Abubakar Ahmed, Rufai Mukthar Shu’aibu, and Sidi Aminu Sharif.
On the effect of the suspension of the service, Okhiria said, “We have lost N531m between March 28 when the train attack happened and August through the expected ticket sales on the suspended Abuja-Kaduna Train Service (AKTS).”
The NRC managing disclosed that although the corporation had restored the damaged rolling stock and fixed the track, the train service would not resume without the safe release of the remaining passengers held hostage.
He said, “We believe proper security measures should be put in place. Government has set up a committee to ensure maximum security for both train passengers and facilities during operation.
According to Okhiria, “The minister of transportation is leading the struggle for the safe release of those still in captivity. We could not go with force to ensure no one loses their life.”
Meanwhile, the NRC boss said the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge train was running four trips daily, just as the other regular train service including Warri-Itakpe line.
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