Four children and three adults among train Abuja-Kaduna passengers kidnapped by terrorists in March have been released.
The children, who are the grandsons of a retired general, were released on Wednesday along with their father and mother.
A 60-year old man was also said to have been released in the latest set of freed abductees on health ground.
They were abducted when the terrorists bombed the rail track near Kaduna, forcing their train to stop and shot at the passengers, killing some of them in the process.
A number of the captives had earlier been released at different times.
A statement on Wednesday a Kaduna-based publisher, Tukur Mamur, who negotiated the release of some of the passengers, said the children and their parents were released after the intervention of Sheik Ahmad Gumi.
“Disturbed by the gory videos images of four teenage children belonging to the same family he saw in the last video released by the attackers of the AK9 Train, Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Gumi for the first time since the abduction of the innocent passengers of that train over 4 months ago has reached out to the abductors through his media consultant, sent Allah’s messages to them and consistently pleaded with them to consider the release of the poor children and their innocent parents.
“It was learnt that the health condition of two of the teenage children has deteriorated since the flogging incident that affected their helpless father. A total of additional seven hostages were therefore released on Wednesday.
“The husband (maybe he meant father) of the four kids is a staff of the National Assembly Commission. There was no intervention from the commission or NASS on his behalf since the travails begun.
“This is to confirm to the world that due to Sheikh Gumi’s efforts and with the support of a serving senator from the North, (a God-fearing personality that doesn’t have any relationship with the hostages) who chose to remain anonymous that all the family of six have regained their freedom on Wednesday morning. Also released is a 60-year-old woman, one Hajia Aisha Hassan, who was said to have been released due to life threatening health challenges that deteriorated recently.”
He gave the names of the six family members released as Abubakar Idris Garba, who is the father of the four kids, his wife, Maryama Abubakar Bobbo, and their eldest son, Ibrahim Abubakar Garba, who is 10 years old.
Others are Fatima Abubakar Garba, seven years; Imran Abubakar Garba, five years old, and the youngest, Zainab Abubakar Garba, who is only one and a half years.
The husband, Abubakar is the son of Maj. Gen. Idris Garba (retd). Gen. Garba, now bedridden, had once pleaded with government to ensure the release of his child, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.
He was a military administrator of Kano and Benue states during the administration of former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.
NRC develops framework for PPP, working with LASG for red line take-off
Nigerian Railway Corporation has developed a train track access framework to encourage Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in the operation of effective train services in the country, Managing Director of the NRC, Fidet Okhiria, has said.
He also said the NRC had set up a team to work with the Lagos State Government to ensure smooth launch and effective running of the state government’s mass transit train called the Red Line.
He stated this during a press briefing held Wednesday at the NRC’s headquarters, Ebute Meta, Lagos.
He said that the establishment of train track access framework would enable third parties to use the track.
Okhiria said the framework would increase private sector participation and the usage of the trackers.
He said it would also improve inter-state business and passengers would pay lesser amount for carriage of goods from one point to another.
He said, “We have tendered the Train Track Access Framework to the Board of the NRC during our last meeting and we hope that the framework will be approved at the next board meeting.
“We have set up a team to work with the Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) to enable them to operate successfully.
“LAMATA had just received wagons for the Red Line and hopefully they will start operation by the first quarter of 2023.”
The state government some days took delivery of Talgo Series 8 trains acquired from Milwaukee for the Red Line with a promise that the first quarter delivery date for the train service remained sacrosant.
Okhiria also said on Wednesday that efforts were being made by the Federal Government to adequately secure trains’ passengers nationwide as well as address other industry issues.
He said the incident of March 28, 2022 impacted not just on the Abuja-Kaduna route but on all the train services nationwide but added that the confidence of Nigerians on train ride as the safest means of transportation was gradually being restored.
Train attack: FG loses N531m revenue in five months
The suspension of the Abuja-Kaduna train service within five months has cost the Nigerian Railway Corporation N531m in revenue loss, the Managing Director of the firm, Fidet Okhiria, has said.
He stated this in Lagos on Wednesday at a quarterly press briefing of the corporation.
He said the amount represented what could have been made through ticket sales for the standard gauge passenger train, which was attacked by terrorists about six months ago.
Since terrorists on March 28 attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train, killing eight people and abducting 62 passengers, it has not resumed operation.
Although many of those held hostage have been released in piecemeal, the Federal Government has said train service would not be restored on the route until all those still in captivity are released and adequate security measures put in place along the corridor.
Okhiria said, “We have lost N531m between March 28 when the train attack happened and August through the expected ticket sales on the suspended Abuja-Kaduna Train Service (AKTS).”
Although the NRC MD said the corporation had restored the damaged rolling stock and fixed the track, the train service would not resume without the safe release of the remaining passengers held hostage.
He said four railway workers were among those still being held captive.
He said, “We believe proper security measures should be put in place. Government has set up a committee to ensure maximum security for both train passengers and facilities during operation.
“The minister (of transportation) is leading the struggle for the safe release of those still in captivity. We could not go with force to ensure noone loses their life.”
Okhiria said the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge train was running four trips daily, just as the other regular train service including Warri-Itakpe line.
“Lagos-Ibadan train service has not stopped running one day. It operates four daily trips. The Itakpe-Warri line runs two trains a day,” he said.
Updated: No insurance cover for victims of Abuja-Kaduna train attack – NRC
Train passengers held captive by terrorists after the attack on Abuja-Kaduna rail will not receive any compensation from insurance company, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, has said.
He disclosed this on Wednesday at a press conference in Lagos, explaining that although the corporation had an insurance policy for both rolling stock and train passengers, it did not cover banditry and terrorism.
The terrorists had on March 28, attacked an Abuja-Kaduna-bound passenger train, killing eight people, injuring several others, while 62 of the passengers were abducted.
Many of those held hostage have been released in piecemeal.
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