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The Federal Government Wednesday ruled out the possibility of resuming the Abuja-Kaduna train service now saying it will be insensitive on its part to do so.
Addressing newsmen at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, Transportation Minister, Muazu Sambo, stressed that it would be insensitive of government to restart the train service while many Nigerians are still traumatized over their loved ones who are still being held captives by terrorists from an attack that occurred on the train service.
He, however, disclosed that besides efforts being made to free the remaining train attack victims from captivity, the federal government is also working round the clock to find technology-based solutions that will make the nation’s railway services more secure and prevent a recurrence of the Kaduna-bound train attack.
The Minister stated specifically that in the next one month, government will come up with when the suspended Abuja-Kaduna railway service will resume operations again.
Responding to a question on the suspension of the train service, Sambo said “I have said it said in the past that it is better to save the life of one Nigerian. I mean to save the life of one Nigeria and than risk the lives of many Nigerians. There are two core matters at the heart of the resumption of the Abuja-Kaduna rail services and these core issues are; one, families are traumatized over their loved ones that are still in captivity.
“Two, we need to have a surveillance and monitoring system on the rail track that would ensure that such incidents never happen again. So, we are pursuing these two things at the same time, trying to get the victims of the kidnap released and at the same time looking for the best solution in terms of surveillance.
“We are looking at so many options, we want to go for the best one, a sustainable one and don’t forget, ultimately, whatever we have as a template between Abuja and Kaduna, that succeeds, would also serve the thousands of kilometers of rail lines across the country. I think this is as much as I will give”, he said.
When asked to be specific as to when Nigerians should expect to see the trains back on their tracks, the Minister said “If I give you a timeline now, I’ll be lying to you, but I can tell you one thing, we are working day and night. We are looking at solutions that are technology-based and you know technology changes every day.
“There is a solution that the Kano State government has employed for the Felgore Forest, sanctioned by the DSS, we are looking at that. We are also mindful of costs. Now, if for example, you’re going to spend between N3 billion and N9 billion naira, just to provide surveillance or monitoring system along the Abuja-Kaduna rail line alone, how much is government going to spend for the entire country?
“So, we are also looking at the PPP options. For example, there are notable companies that have solved this thing outside this jurisdiction, where we give them the right of way, the infrastructure and the personnel and then we pay as we go, which is a more attractive option for me I think the direct answer to your question, maybe in another one month, we should be back to you with a solution”, he explained.