About 184 passengers of the ill-fated Abuja-Kaduna-bound train attacked by terrorists last Monday are still unaccounted for as the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), yesterday confirmed the safety of 170 passengers.
NRC also stated that the train had only 362 validated passengers aboard, according to the Train Manifest, even though it said that the train has a capacity of 840 seats.
With eight passengers confirmed dead while 170 were declared safe, a total of 184 passengers were still unaccounted for, according to the official records.
NRC did not clarify if the 26 injured passengers were among the 170 declared safe.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday by its Managing Director/CEO, Mr Fidet Okhiria, the NRC disclosed that 21 passengers were reported missing by the relatives who made calls to the corporation.
Okhiria said Saturday’s update on the incident was necessary to prevent the circulation of falsehood or misleading information to the general public.
“For the records, there were 11 coaches on the train worked by Loco 2502, which is made up of four SPA Coaches with 56 sitting capacity per coach and 7 SP Coaches with 88 sitting capacity per coach.
“Thus, the total seat capacity of the train is 840 seats. You may also recall that the Train Manifest contained 362 validated passengers aboard the train,” he added.
The NRC boss hinted that the corporation, in continuation of its concerted effort through repeated calls, has been able to confirm the safety of “170 passengers, while 21 passengers are reported missing by the relatives who made calls to us.”
He further said that the corporation was seriously collaborating with the security agents, who had already swung into action, in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari to do everything possible to rescue all those that are still missing.
He noted that: “The corporation is also not resting on its oars as she has heavily moved human and material resources to the accident site to make sure that train services resumed without further delays in other to reduce the stress that our passengers are currently going through.
“In practical terms, a high-powered restoration team, led by directors has been working round the clock to re-rail the coaches affected by the bomb blast.”
He added: “There is a coordinated two-pronged simultaneous restoration approach. While Loco 2702 with re-railment and restoration materials departed Idu Station, Abuja to the bomb blast site, another team with Loco 2502 departed Rigasa Station, Kaduna with re-railment and restoration materials to the same site.
“I am happy to inform you that as at the close of work on the 1st of April 2022, Coaches SP00004, SP00009, SP00012, SP00013 have all been re-railed and safely taken to our Rigasa Station in Kaduna. Restoration of track for the full resumption of normal train services will continue today 2nd April 2022.”
He added that arrangements had equally been put in place for increased security along the track and onboard the train to prevent the recurrence of the unfortunate incident.
Meanwhile, in a show of force, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba, on Saturday patrolled the entire 163 kilometre-stretch of the Abuja-Kaduna expressway for on-the-spot assessment of the security challenges in the area and to personally supervise the operational deployment of officers drawn from the police tactical squads to ensure the safety of travellers along the route.
Also in an apparent response to the frustrations expressed by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State and the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has deployed rockets, bombs, and fighter jets in simultaneous airstrikes to eliminate over 100 terrorists in Zamfara, Kaduna and Borno states.
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