As Nigerians grapple with the problem of insecurity, particularly kidnapping along major roads, many took to travelling by air. Unfortunately however, the high cost of aviation fuel has made air travel unattractive. The only option left was travelling by train and Nigerians started patronising rail transport until March 28, 2022 when the unthinkable happened.
On that day, insecurity in the country was taken to a new level when terrorists forced an Abuja-bound train to a halt after planting bombs on the rail tracks. The terrorists attacked the train, forcefully gained entry and fired randomly. At the end, about eight persons were reportedly killed, about 25 injured and more than a hundred others abducted.
he train reportedly left Abuja at about 6p.m. and was attacked between Katari and Rijana communities in Kadana State. The train was said to be conveying more than 350 passengers as at the time of the attack.
More than a month after the attack not much has been heard from the federal government prompting family members of the abducted victims to say the government has been insensitive to their plight. Yes, President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the attack, describing it as “callous” and equally directed the security chiefs to track down the terrorists and ensure the release of the abductees.
Beyond that nothing more has been heard from the government, according to family members of the kidnapped victims. Nobody is giving them any information about their loved ones just as officials of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) have not bothered to establish contact with them. Perhaps the biggest problem of the family members is the anxiety and trauma of not knowing whether their loved ones are still alive or not.
About two weeks after the incident the Nigerian government and the NRC announced plans to resume service on the Abuja-Kaduna route when some of those who died had not been buried and those abducted are still in captivity. The families of the victims roundly condemned the plan, which they described as most insensitive.
Fortunately, the Federal Government has entered into negotiation with the terrorists but say they are not ready to bow to the demands of the terrorists, who are asking for the release of 16 of their commanders in the custody of the FG.
Following the deadlocked negotiation between the federal government and the terrorists, family members of the abducted passengers are appealing to the terrorists to open a window for the families to negotiate the release of their loved ones.
As things stand now, the FG is not willing to release the terrorist commanders in their custody, neither are they ready to pay ransom because according to them, the last time they released commanders to terrorists, the commanders regrouped and the insurgency became more serious. Equally too, when ransom was previously paid by government, such monies were spent purchasing weapons for more intensive insurgency.
The big question now is: should the federal government bow to the demand of the terrorists or not? While the explanation of the government is appreciated, will the kidnapped, innocent Nigerians be allowed to die like common chicken in the hands of the heartless terrorists?
It is no secret that when these terrorists do not get what they are asking for, from the authorities the abductees in their custody become the victims. To demonstrate to the government that they mean business, the terrorists will begin to gruesomely murder the abducts one after the other until their demands are met!
The primary responsibility of any responsible government is the welfare and security of the lives and property of its citizens. If the federal government is not prepared to meet the demand of the terrorists, whom Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, told us more than two years ago, had been decimated by federal troops, then it must rescue the abductees, by whatever means possible. The abductees must not be allowed to die.