The joint National Assembly Committee on Land Transport has pleaded with the Chinese government to assist the Nigerian government in rescuing victims who are still being held hostage 47 days after terrorists attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train.
Abdulfatai Buhari, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land and Transportation, made the request on Wednesday while leading the committee on an oversight visit to the Obafemi Awolowo rail station in Ibadan, Oyo State.
He claimed that instead of bringing joy to citizens, the service had brought sadness to many Nigerians.
Buhari expressed his disappointment that 62 people were being held captive 47 days after the heinous incident.
“In as much as Nigerians are pleased with the train, it has become the source of sadness today instead of the services and happiness for us. Today is exactly 47days that our brothers are captive.”
According to him, “Yesterday, the families of the victims met with the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasiru El-Rufai, and then the accusations were against those of us in the National Assembly and against your government. The accusation was that we, lawmakers, are not doing anything to rescue the victims. Nigerians are not taking it lightly. The Chinese government makes money from the many rail projects that are being handled by the China Civil Engineering Construction Company here in Nigeria, so asking them to help us is not out of place.”
He said it was not all about the standard gauge rail system but the security and safety of passengers.
“It is not about having a standard gauge and all that. That this is not what we are interested in now. Nigerians are no longer ready to listen to the number of passengers that has been carried by the trains since they were commissioned. We want their services, but the security and the lives of those people involved are very important to us.”
He, however, stressed the need for the company to install some security gadgets like the Wifi for easy communication while using the train.
Earlier, the Deputy Managing Director of CCECC, Xia Lijun, had urged the Joint National Assembly Committee to look into power supply issues and access road issues affecting most of the train stations.
“Most of our train stations don’t have good access roads. Again, the issue of power supply is a problem. Without us getting connected to the power supply from the national grid, getting signals and communications up and running is difficult.”
Also speaking, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Freedom Okhiria, said that the agency was increasing policing of the services.
Okhiria, who was represented at the event by the Director of Operations, Niyi Alli, said that the agency was doing everything possible to ensure the security of passengers.
“However, also on the existing lines, we are doing the same thing. We are increasing technology; we are increasing policing. We are using some things that I can’t really talk about on camera.