After 42 days of the attack on the Kaduna-bound train in which nine persons were killed and about 70 passengers abducted, families of the kidnapped victims have expressed disappointment in the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
They also demanded his immediate sack, adding that the Abuja-Kaduna corridor should be closed until all the kidnapped passengers are safely rescued.
The kidnapped train passengers’ families, who addressed journalists in Kaduna yesterday, expressed disappointment in the Transport Minister, saying that instead of making strenuous efforts to secure the release of the train passengers, he has running been around declaring for the presidency of Nigeria.
As leaders of the passengers’ families, Dr. Abdulfatai Jimoh and Dr. Ba’abba Muhammad were addressing the press, other 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 minute-by-minute account of rescue efforts to relatives of the kidnapped passengers.
“We are the families of abducted passengers of the NRC AK9 Abuja-Kaduna 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 3 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,” Jimoh and Muhammad said.
“We read in the news that one of the two pregnant women in captivity was delivered of 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?
“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 to see how to get his abducted passengers rescued; 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