BY: Victoria Ojeme
Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, on Monday, disclosed that provision of security by the federal government for passengers plying the Abuja to Kaduna train service ends at the train stations.
Amechi who made this disclosure while at Rigasa train station on his way back to Abuja, insisted that contrary to reports which noted that he escaped kidnaping by bandits at about 8:15 pm on Sunday night when his convoy made a detour to Rigasa road, he was not attacked and had no idea there was an attack on passengers.
He also noted that he did not see any bandit nor heard any gunshot, which was contrary to the report which said there was an exchange of gunshots between the bandits and some mobile policemen and soldiers in an armoured car which saved the passengers from an ambush around Mando area.
In his words: “Nothing happened, I came down here, entered my car and went to the hotel.
I don’t know if anybody was attacked but I, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, wasn’t attacked, I didn’t hear any gunshot I didn’t see anybody.
“Maybe people were attacked after I left I have no idea. If I was attacked why would I hide it; I should be proud to say I was attacked and they were repelled by soldiers or policemen and then advise the state government.
“Whether it is true or not they still need to put security on the road because when I passed yesterday I didn’t see soldiers.”
However, an unidentified person who was with the minister at the time, chipped in that there was a bandit attack which was repelled by security agents saying, “they were around, they are the ones that repelled the bandits.
They attacked passengers but they didn’t kill anybody. They attacked around past 8:15 pm.”
But Amaechi responded that the attacks must have happened after he left premises of the train station, advised passengers to stop plying a shorter route out of the train station and ensure they follow the main route as they were responsible for their safety once they leave the train station.
“Whether true or false they need to reinforce security or people should stop using that road and use this main road even though this one is longer, it appears safer.
“Secondly, our own issue of security ends here. The moment any passenger leaves here you are on your own. We are not a state government, we are not the IG of police. We protect passengers up to this point, when you leave here and enter your car or taxi, that is not our responsibility or does the ticket include that?
“When people say train, they give the impression that people are attacked on the train. Nobody has been attacked on the train since we started running, we have armed policemen on the train. They are fully armed they are not joking, if you throw a Stone they will shoot you, they are as clear to that extent.
“Inside the train, you are safe, between Abuja and Kaduna you are safe, the government of Kaduna is also making efforts to ensure people are safe in Kaduna,” Amaechi said.