NAF Would Start Escorting Nigerian Trains – Amaechi
Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, said on Wednesday that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) will begin accompanying trains to protect passenger safety.
On Wednesday, Amaechi told media this during a visit to victims of the train incident who were being treated at the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna.
The Air Force had previously escorted the trains, but had lately ceased owing to poor weather and visibility, according to the minister, who added that the terror act occurred because the NAF had not been guarding the trains for some time.
According to Amaechi, efforts are already underway to put security sensors on the rails as well as other security equipment to ensure passenger safety.
“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.
“But even if it hasn’t been installed yet, we have spoken with the management of the Nigerian Air Force to escort the trains. They were previously escorting the trains, but recently the weather has been very bad and visibility dropped to below 500 metres, so they couldn’t fly.
“So, they’ve not been flying and this is why this (the attack) was successful. They have resumed flying and will escort the trains when we resume.”
Repair work on the blasted rail track will begin immediately, according to Amaechi, and will be finished as quickly as feasible.
He indicated that over the following six to seven months, locals living near the train lines would be paid to direct the rails until the security equipment was installed.
The minister said:
“We will commence work immediately and the military has promised us security as we work. It is less than 2km of rail tracks. We will complete the work as soon as possible.
“If the Ministry of Finance releases the funds, then we can know the number of those to employ. But we will involve the DSS in screening the people we will employ.”