Over 100 proposals by local and international firms for the security of railways across the country are being submitted daily to the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) following the bombing of the Abuja-Kaduna train on March 28, 2022, by terrorists.
The measures were said to be in response to the Federal Government’s announcement that security devices will be installed on the facilities to assist prevent terror attacks on trains.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had, after the March 28 attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train, indicated that the Federal Government through the NRC will install security sensors on the rail tracks.
The minister had said, “I will speak with the President. He is already giving directives. I’m sure by the time we finish the repair of the rail tracks, we would have got approval for the security equipment and we would possibly have installed it.”
Terrorists detonated bombs aboard the last evening train of the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service on March 28, 2022, killing several passengers, kidnapping many more, and destroying the train and track.
When asked for an update on the Federal Government’s vow to install security devices on rail tracks, NRC Managing Director Fidet Okhiria stated that the company was working hard to secure the trains and tracks.
He did point out, however, that the NRC must follow certain procedures before building the security facilities, and that hundreds of ideas were being submitted to the organization on a regular basis.
“You have to go through some processes to have it installed, but we are working on it seriously,” Okhiria said.
He added, “Everyday we get proposals for security and we receive more than 100 proposals daily on this issue both local and foreign.”
On what was being done to rescue the abducted passengers, the NRC boss stated that the security agencies were the ones handling the issue, stressing that this was not within the portfolio of the corporation.
“I cannot speak on that because it is not within my portfolio. The security people are the ones handling that. They are the ones looking out for where they (abducted passengers) are.”
He did say, however, that attempts were being made to restore the Abuja-Kaduna train service, which had been suspended since March 28, 2022, when terrorists bombed it.
Okhiria announced mid-last month that the company has re-railed the remaining rolling stock affected by the bomb, and that all 14 de-railed rolling stock had been re-railed, including 11 coaches on the ill-fated train and two coaches and one locomotive on the rescue train.
The re-railed carriages and locomotive had been transported from the accident scene to the NRC’s Idu and Rigasa stations, he said.
To further boost security on its train services, the NRC had also announced last month that beginning from May this year it would start linking the profiles of its train passengers with their various National Identification Numbers.
“The process of linking passengers’ profile to their NIN for improved profiling is ongoing. This layer of passenger screening will commence by May 2022,” Okhiria had stated.