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Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.

…Pledges regular patrol of the corridor

By Dirisu Yakubu

ABUJA- Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Friday paid an unscheduled visit to the bomb site at the Rijana sub station along the Abuja-Kaduna rail corridor for an on-the-spot assessment of ongoing work to fix the damaged rail track.

Vanguard had reported the explosion which occurred on Wednesday when suspected terrorists blew off a portion of the rail track forcing the Abuja bound train from Kaduna to run off the railway.

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Amaechi who was accompanied on the inspection by Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, expressed delight at the speed with which the Nigerian engineers fixed the damaged portion.

Addressing newsmen at Rijana,  Amaechi pledged the readiness of government to improve security along all rail corridors acriss the country, noting that the federal government would soon approve the installation of a digital security system to address future challenges ocassion by breach of security.

He said: “What is significant is that the work was done by Nigerians in record time and by tomorrow (Saturday), we expect to run the first train. 

“Apart from this (Wednesday explosion), there has not been any security challenge before now. What this has done to us will fasten the procurement  of digital security system that we are trying to put in place. We took it to cabinet two weeks ago, it was returned. We will take it again to ensure we get approval so we can install it.

“The essence of the security system is to enable us know if there is an impact on the censor. We will try to get the police involved before we install the security system.”

“I may not be happy that the security breach took place but what we have been able to show is that we actually have the capacity to fix our rail. The essence of this is that by the time we leave, we should start getting people who can construct our railways. What they (local engineers) have shown is that if they can fix this, they should be able to construct some kilometres of rail. But we have to test them gradually.”

The Minister assured Nigerians particularly passengers plying the corridor not to be deterred by the incident, saying all hands were on deck to.prevent a future reoccurrence. 

“We want to assure the public that beyond the presence of police and the deployment military along this track, I have just told the Managing Director (Okhiria) to get us a rail van that would be on regular patrol before the train takes off. That will be the measure we would put in place before we fix our security system that will determine when the train will go or stop. It will be from end to end, Abuja and Kaduna, including Lagos and Ibadan rail stations,” he added. 

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