From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The family members of the abducted passengers of the NRC AK9 Abuja- Kaduna bound Train on March 28, 2022 have accused some federal officials of nonchalant attitude towards making efforts to rescue the hostages 42 days in captivity.
The family members of the respective abductees noted that May 9 marked exactly 42 days that their loved ones were taken hostage from the ill fated Train.
In a statement jointly issued by Leaders of the relatives of the kidnapped passengers, Dr. Abdulfatai Jimoh and Dr. Ba’abba Muhammad said the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi was busy declaring his intention to become the next President of Nigeria without little or no concern for the kidnapped passengers.
The aggrieved family members also accused the Management of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) for allegedly refusing to establish a Situation Room to give a minute by minute account of rescue efforts to Relatives of Kidnapped passengers as directed by President Buhari.
They therefore called on the federal government to ensure quick and safe rescue of, “our family members held hostage”, adding that Abuja-Kaduna Train service should not resume until their first prayer is met, and adequate security measures are put in place to guarantee the safety of prospective passengers.
“We are the families of abducted passengers of the NRC AK9 Abuja- Kaduna bound Train attacked on 28th March 2022.
“Today marks the 42nd day our loved ones have been held hostage. It has been 42 long days of living in fear, virtually no sleep, no bath, wearing the same clothes, under the scorching sun and rain, and exposed to extreme environmental hazards. The emotional, psychological, mental, and physical torture arising from these conditions are only imaginable.
“Among the abducted passengers are children, some as young as 3 years old, pregnant women, women including an 85-year-old great grandmother, and others. Some of these victims have health challenges requiring daily medications, which they have had no access to in the last 42 harrowing days.
“We read in the news that one of the two pregnant women in captivity delivered her baby in the forest. Giving birth is supposed to be a moment of joy; how would it have been if this woman delivered her baby in the comfort of a maternity ward? In whose hands? What is the place of birth of this baby, the forest?
“While some families have their breadwinners in captivity, others have their wives, mothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, and aunts held down in the bush. This hostage-taking has drastically disrupted the living conditions of affected families. Children are crying every day, with the only question in their mouths being: When are my Mummy and Daddy coming home? What a miserable state!!!.
“Since this unfortunate attack on the Abuja- Kaduna bound Train, we believe the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, alongside his Security and Intelligence Chiefs, have been working to rescue our loved ones. We have been given assurances that a positive outcome of these efforts would be apparent soon.
“We must, however, register our displeasure with the way and manner the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi has been handling this tragic event since it occurred. Just a few days after 28th March, Mr. Amaechi was seen running around the Stadium in Port Harcourt where he declared his intention to become the next President of Nigeria.
“We had expected Mr. Amaechi to be running around as to how to get his abducted passengers rescued, and this is highly disappointing. Mr. President also directed the Management of NRC to establish a Situation Room to give a minute by minute account of rescue efforts to Relatives of Kidnapped passengers.
“Still, one week after this Presidential directive was issued, NRC has neither contacted the relatives of kidnapped victims nor established any Situation Room as directed by the President.
“This display of gross incompetence and insensitivity should lead to the appropriate punishment.
“Furthermore, we sought the intervention of the leadership of the National Assembly, which is the people’s Court, but nothing has been forthcoming from them.
“We want to extend our profound gratitude to Nigerians, Elder Statesmen, Traditional, Religious, and Community Leaders, and the Nigerian media who have lent their strong voices to this struggle both in the open and behind the scene and their prayers for divine intervention. We still need this vital support until success is achieved”. The statement said.