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We’re running Lagos-Ibadan rail with Abuja-Kaduna funds – Minister

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Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says funds generated from the Abuja-Kaduna rail are being used to sustain the operation of the recently inaugurated Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line.

Although he did not disclose how much was being used for this purpose, he only said about N300m was being generated from the Abuja-Kaduna rail every month, out of N100m was being remitted to the coffers of the Federal Government.

The minister made this known while speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s Hard Copy.

He said, “We make N300m per month from the Abuja-Kaduna train.

“Currently, we are running Lagos-Ibadan from the money we are making from Abuja-Kaduna rail service; at the end of the day, we pay back over N100m to the Federal Government.”

The minister noted that his ministry was beginning to contribute to the nation’s economic growth.

Amaechi also said the FG was making plans to add 16 more trains to the Lagos-Ibadan rail line, stressing that this would increase revenue generation from that line.

Speaking on the debt accrued in the course of developing the rail transport system, the minister expressed confidence that Nigeria has the capacity to pay back and that the nation has commenced repayment.

“Nigeria has the capacity to pay its loan. Out of $500m President Goodluck Jonathan borrowed for Abuja-Kaduna rail project, at the end of the day, we have paid back over $100m to the Federal Government,” he said.

He also said more developments would be coming to the rail sector to boost the revenue generated by the ministry, and support the FG in settling its debts.

Railway

FG won’t resume Abuja-Kaduna train service until all abducted passengers are freed – Minister

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Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, has said the Abuja-Kaduna train service will remain shut indefinitely until the kidnapped victims are reunited with their families and additional security measures provided.

He also said the proposed surveillance security equipment on rail tracks would be procured soon.
The minister spoke after he inspected the Idu, Abuja Train Station, on Tuesday.
“It is very important to get those Nigerians that have been kidnapped reunited with their families, otherwise it will appear the government is not sensitive whereas the government is not only sensitive but the government is doing everything it can to make sure that those who have been affected by this abduction are reunited with their families.”
“You must put in place adequate security and infrastructural measures to protect and prevent all forms of threats that are possible and leave what you cannot do to God but everything humanly possible must be put in place to ensure that the reoccurrence of this nature is automatically eliminated forever. Technology can make that possible and we are trying to deploy the best technology available anywhere in the world that has served very well in other jurisdictions which we believe can also serve us very well in Nigeria.”
A memo to procure a N3 billion rail track sensors by the immediate past Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, was rejected at the Federal Executive Council.
However, the current minister said the procurement would still happen.
“We are in the process of procuring the sensors and that is why I said we must ensure that we put in place every infrastructure that will ensure that lives are safeguarded. So, the technology that is going to be deployed is such that you can perceive a threat and eliminate it before you get to the location; that is being proactive.
“The best way to travel as far as I am concerned is by train and by the grace of God, we will make sure these services resume but not until those things I mentioned have been achieved. Rescue or reunion of those that have been kidnapped with their families and putting in place technology that will ensure that threats to lives are eliminated,” he said.
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Terrorists release professor, four other abducted train passengers

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Five of the passenger abducted by terrorists from a Kaduna-bound train on March 28, 2022, have been released.

Among the freed passengers are Prof. Mustapha Umar Imam, a medical doctor at the Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital (UDUS), Sokoto.

Daily Trust in its report said Imam was shot in captivity, raising concerns about his safety.

Other passengers also released are Akibu Lawal, Abubakar Ahmed Rufai, Muktar Shuaibu and Sidi Aminu Sharif.

Kaduna-based Publisher, Tukur Mamu, who  engaged in negotiating the release of the victims but backed out due to threats to his life, confirmed their release to Daily Trust on Tuesday.

It is unclear if any ransom was paid for the victims, whose release occurred three weeks after seven train passengers were set free after an N800 million ransom.

It was reliably gathered that families of each of the six Nigerian victims paid N100 million while the captors pegged the ransom for the Pakistani at N200 million which was also paid.

The report quoted a source as saying, “Only N200 million was collected in naira, the remaining N600 million was paid in the equivalent of US dollars.”

“All the families of the victims felt abandoned by the federal government and therefore had to pay for the release of their loved ones,” a source close to one of the released victim said.

“The truth is that the FG is indifferent to our plight…Those in power don’t care if the captives are all killed. That is why we sold our property and raised the money. It is the same for the families of all those released. We all paid through our nose but Alhamdulillah, it is worth it.”

The abductors had earlier released three batches of the captives, including managing director of the Bank of Agriculture, Alwan Hassan, a group of eleven victims and a pregnant woman released alone.

A security source told one of our correspondents that the federal government rarely secures the release of any captive.

“Government is not amenable to releasing terrorists in their custody because of some international convention.

“It is however sad that in Nigeria, while we don’t agree to prisoner swap most of the time, the terrorists always have their way as evident in the recent attack on Kuje Prison where many high profile terrorists were released.

“We don’t have the capacity to protect our prison facilities and we don’t have the capacity to protect the citizens. Hundreds of terrorists have been set free in various prisons…It is unfortunate,” he said.

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Abductors of train passengers release three more captives

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Terrorists who about three  months ago attacked an Abuja-Kaduna train and kidnapped over 60 passengers on Monday released three more captives.

Some 20 victims had earlier been released at different times after their families were reportedly made to pay ransom.

A relative of one of the latest released victims told the BBC that those freed included two men and a woman.

This is coming about 24 hours after a video was released showing how the remaining kidnapped train passengers were being flogged and dehumanised.

While disclosing the news to the BBC, the relative said the released victims were on the way to a health facility for medical examination

The BBC report said there was no detailed explanation on the condition met before the additional three victims were released.

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