Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, has expressed satisfaction with the security measures put in place along the Abuja- Kaduna train route after it was shut down eight months ago due an attack by terrorists.
The Minster further revealed that National Identification Number (NIN) will be compulsory for buying train tickets while adults can use their NIN to buy for up to four minors.
Sambo made the disclosure on Sunday in Kaduna during an inspection of security and other measures put in place to curb attack at trains plying the Abuja – Kaduna corridor.
Accompanied by Minister of State Ademola Adegoroye, Minister of Water Resources Eng. Suleiman Adamu Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation Fidet Okhiria, Chairman governing Board Nigeria Railway Corporation Ibrahim Musa, Sambo expressed confidence that there are sufficient measure to ensure that the ugly incident of March 28, when terrorists attacked a Kaduna bound train ,does not repeat itself.
He said, “A number of measures have been put in place in order to ensure that life and property will be secured when we resume services and I’m satisfied with what I have seen.
“Of course, there are one or two areas that need to be addressed and we’re going to address them immediately”.
The Minister debunked the rumour that train services will resume today (Monday) at the northern corridor. He said that the newly introduced measures will delay the resumption of business along the corridor for a few more days so that passengers will be acquainted with the new protocol involved in train boarding before it will resume services.
He said, “We have not said that train services will start tomorrow. I want to be very categorical about that.
“Now, we have introduced a new system before you buy a ticket. The purchase of a ticket requires you to provide a phone number and a national identification number in order to profile you because that is the beginning of the security checks. So at any point in time when a train moves from one station to another, we know who and who are on board.
“If you don’t have a NIN, you are not going to board our train, it is as simple as that. If you are a minor, an adult will register for you and an adult can only register for not more than four minors.
Now, we want to give sufficient time for Nigerian public to listen to these two requirements, to assimilate this new system.
“So if you go and start tomorrow, a lot of people will be disgruntled. Why didn’t they tell us that this is a new way of doing it? Why didn’t they give us adequate time to do it? So we want to give you adequate time. Definitely between 3, 4, 5 days, certainly not more than a week.”
Sambo said that although only God can guarantee maximum security, he assured Nigerians that everything is in place to guarantee a secured and smooth train ride.
“We are not going to tell you what we have done. It is a security matter and I have no apologies for that.
“Who will give you the assurance is Almighty God but I will tell you that whatever is humanly possible to secure the lives of the users of this service have been put in place and we will continue to upgrade it.
“We’ll be monitoring it on a daily basis and improve on wherever we find some snags”.
The Minister assured that Secured ID will continue to handle the e-ticketing services.
“The ticketing called e-ticketing has already been contracted to a company called secure ID. That concession has gone through the entire concession process under extant laws, including approval by the Federal Executive Council. So that concession remains in place for the duration of the concession period, which I think is 10 years”.
Recall that on March 28, 2022, around 7:45 pm, hundreds of passengers travelling on a Kaduna bound train were attacked in Katari, Kaduna State, with many killed and others injured by bandits who bombed the train.
Approximately 970 passengers were on board, and 62 passengers were abducted into the bush by the marauding bandits, who arrived on motorbikes holding firearms and other deadly weapons, according to a passenger who escaped the onslaught.
The train left Abuja’s Idu station at 6 pm and was scheduled to arrive in Kaduna’s Rigasa train station by 8 pm. According to eyewitness accounts, the train was bombed twice before the armed bandits opened fire on the passengers.