Transport minister blames difficult procurement process for bomb blast on Abuja-Kaduna train

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The Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, blamed the bureaucratic bottleneck associated with the acquisition of “digital security architecture” to secure rail lines as responsible for the bomb blast on the Abuja-Kaduna rail corridor.

The Minister who was accompanied by the Minister of State for Transport, Senator Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki and the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi, made it known yesterday during the inspection of the site of the explosion located between the section Rijana and Dutse, about Km 137 from Abuja. .

“We were not able to install the security sensors as the procurement process is a bit difficult. This is typical of Nigerians, shortening the approval process could have saved lives like these,” he said. -he declares.

Explaining how the security device works, Amaechi said drones alone can let the system know when there are people around the train tracks, as the equipment picks up sensors when the tracks are bridged, allowing for a response. to danger.

Still expressing his frustration, the minister said: “Even if they get us the approval, it will take a few months to acquire them overseas, to install them. We have to do this to allow us to see from Kaduna-Abuja, Itakpe-Warri and from Lagos-Ibadan what is happening so that we do not continue to lose lives because lives matter. If we don’t, more people will die. The cost was around 3 billion naira and the damage here is over 3 billion naira. So if we had gotten the approval, we would have saved lives.

Criticizing public opinion about the cost of the equipment, the minister said, “You can’t equate it to the eight lives that were lost. The equipment was only 3 billion naira and it is the newest in the world”.

“What kind of due process is that?” When I say due process, it doesn’t necessarily mean BPP but whatever agency it is; they have to get us the approval so that we can get it from the cabinet”. Amaechi said.

Regarding the measures to be deployed pending approval, the Minister revealed that the idea of ​​employing natives to fill security gaps in remote areas is under consideration.

Regarding the number of people on the train and others, Amaechi said the total number of passengers on the train was 398 minus the Nigerian Railway Corporation staff, cleaning staff; which weren’t all on the manifest. He added that the number of missing, abducted and injured people has not been established.

Regarding the patrol vehicles recently donated to the railway company, Amaechi said that they are available but cannot reach everywhere because some land is inaccessible, adding that attacks have been prevented in sections within reach of trucks. patrol.

The Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Engr. Ibrahim Alhassan Musa, in a conversation with the media, urged everyone to be security conscious and report any suspicious activity to the relevant authority.

“When you see suspicious activity, report it because there is no way people riding 50 to 70 motorbikes can go unnoticed without anyone seeing them or hearing the noise,” he said.

In addition, he offered his condolences to all those who lost loved ones and wished a speedy recovery to those injured.

It can be recalled that unlike the last explosion which killed 8 people, a similar one occurred in the same axis on October 22, 2021 although no lives were lost.

Present at the inspection were senior ministry officials and military personnel.

Eric Ojiekwe
Director, Press & PR
March 30, 2022

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