As families and friends mourn victims of the terrorist attacks on the Kaduna-bound train on Monday night, Nigerians have continued to lament the spate of recent attacks with the question: ‘What is a Nigerian life worth?’
The orgy of attacks in Kaduna State continued, yesterday after terrorists at the weekend attacked an airport and followed it up with Monday’s rail track explosion at Gidan train station along the Abuja-Kaduna rail track.
It was gathered that the terrorists planted Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on the tracks forcing the train heading to Abuja from Kaduna to a stop. This is the second attack within 24 hours along the same axis.
As of press time, details of the second attack were still sketchy, and it wasn’t yet clear if there were casualties. Innocent Ajiji, president of the Nigeria Union of Railway Workers, confirmed the development to newsmen. He said: “We are yet to determine the extent of the damage.”
The incident comes hours after Monday’s attack, following which the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) had announced the suspension of the Abuja-Kaduna railway operations.
At least eight persons were killed in Monday’s attack, which happened at about 7:45 p.m. at Dutse village in Chikun Local Government Area, a few kilometres from the Rigasa train station, which is the last transit point of the train.
Soldiers were mobilised to confront the terrorists when the mobile policemen escorting passengers on the train were overpowered. They eventually succeeded in dispersing the bandits, who also escaped with some of their hostages.
After calm was restored, the passengers walked about 45 kilometres under security cover to the Abuja-Kaduna highway, and from there, they were conveyed in buses to the 44 Nigerian Army Reference hospital in the Kaduna state capital, where those who sustained injuries were immediately treated.
Also yesterday, bandits attacked the Kaduna-Abuja highway where they kidnapped some travellers. It was learnt that some motorists plying the road were blocked by the bandits and taken to an unknown destination.
An eyewitness said the bandits who were wielding dangerous weapons asked the travellers to come out of their vehicles.
“We saw them when they were taking dozens of travellers inside the forest. But we were helpless as we were not armed. We don’t even have the power to confront them,” he said. At the time of filing this report, the police and the state government were yet to react to the incident.
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, again ordered service chiefs to deal ruthlessly with terrorists, adding that they should be more decisive and not spare anyone unlawfully wielding the AK-47 weapon. Buhari gave the directives after he received a briefing from service chiefs, led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, on the Abuja-Kaduna train terror attack.
The President also directed the immediate conclusion of all the processes for the implementation of the integrated security surveillance and monitoring solution for the Abuja to Kaduna railway line, as well as extended coverage to the Lagos-Ibadan railway line.
According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari directed the Nigerian Railway Corporation management to speedily repair the damaged lines and resume normal service without delay.
Others in the delegation of the CDS were the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Faruk Yahaya, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, as well as Major General Samuel Adebayo, the Chief of Defence Intelligence and the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi.
The President further charged the service chiefs to bring back all passengers kidnapped and ensure that each of the callous terrorists are hunted down and made to face justice for their heinous acts as no one or group should be allowed to render the country prostrate.
“No one should be allowed to hold the country to ransom,” he ordered.
Buhari strongly condemned the bombing of the passenger train, describing it as a “matter of grave concern.
“Like most Nigerians, I am deeply pained by its occurrence, the second of its type, which has resulted in the death of a yet to be a determined number of passengers and others who suffered injuries.”
Addressing State House correspondents shortly after the meeting with the President, Irabor said: “We have come to brief the President regarding the unfortunate incident of Monday, where some criminals had gone to lay improvised explosive devices on the rail tracks and a passenger train was demobilised. Seven Nigerians were killed, 29 others wounded and some were kidnapped, which we are yet to establish the exact number.”
The Defence Chief said security agencies will build on the lessons they have learnt from the latest incident. He assured Nigerians that the military and other security agencies will not rest on their oars until everywhere is secured.