…163 passengers unreachable, says NRC
The Nigerian Railway Corporation on Tuesday said it had still not been able to establish contact with 163 passengers and seven crew members who boarded the AK9 Abuja-Kaduna train that was attacked by terrorists on March 28, 2022.
The NRC’s Managing Director, Fidet Okhiria, disclosed this in the sixth update from the corporation with respect to the train attack.
He, however, stated that 191 passengers had been confirmed safe and were in their various homes with their families, adding that work was ongoing to get the rail line back to operations.
On the status of the 362 validated passengers who boarded the train, Okhiria said, “191 persons on the manifest are now confirmed safe and at their various homes. Additional five persons confirmed safe today.
“46 phone numbers on the manifest are still either switched off or not reachable since Tuesday morning. 33 phone numbers on the manifest are ringing but still no response from the other end.
“62 phone numbers on the manifest when called response non-existent. 22 persons are reported missing by their relatives. Eight persons confirmed dead.”
On the crew members in the train, the NRC boss said, “There were a total of 20 train crew on board. Seven (are) NRC staff, five are okay and two are missing.
“10 janitors, six are okay, three missing and one dead. Of the three onboard caterers, one is okay and two are missing.”
Okhiria further noted that one of the coaches (SP 00020) was re-railed and safely moved to Rigasa Station.
“This brings the total number of recovered coaches and safely moved to the NRC stations to eight,” he said.
He added, “Intensive track repair works continued on-site to enable the recovery of the remaining coaches and locomotives.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has lost about N80m as a result of the suspension of operations of the Abuja-Kaduna train service after the facility was bombed by terrorists.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had stated in December last year that the Abuja-Kaduna train service was generating at least N300m monthly.
“We make N300m per month from the Abuja-Kaduna train. Currently, we are running Lagos-Ibadan from the money we are making from Abuja-Kaduna rail service,” Amaechi stated during a television interview at the time.
This implies that the service makes about N10m daily, going by an average of 30 days in a month. Hence, the government has lost about N80m as a result of the halt in the operations of the service since the incident occurred.
On March 28, 2022, suspected bandits attacked the last evening train, AK9, on the Abuja-Kaduna train service with explosives, leading to the death of some passengers and the destruction of the train and track.
Because of the level of damage on the track and in honour of those that lost their lives, the NRC suspended train operations on the affected route.
A senior official of the NRC told our correspondent at the Idu Train Station in Abuja that the amount currently lost daily by the Abuja-Kaduna train service was detrimental to the growth of the country’s economy.
“This facility was built with foreign loans which we’ve been paying back monthly from the earnings we make operating it. But for about a week now, that income has ceased,” the official, who pleaded not to be named as he was not authorised to speak on the matter, stated.
The source added, “Aside from the loss of lives and destruction of some of the coaches and part of the rail lines, the daily loss, which is in excess of N10m, is also detrimental not just to the NRC, but the Nigerian economy as a whole.”
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