The relatives of the 61 passengers of the Abuja-Kaduna train still in captivity after the March 28th train attack have lamented that almost three weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) to engage with them, the NRC is yet to do so.
The relatives, in a press conference in Kaduna on Thursday, stated that it was insensitive for the NRC to resume the train service scheduled for Monday, May 23rd even when their loved ones are still in captivity.
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Daily Trust reports that 52 days since bandits attacked a Kaduna bound train and abducted over 60 passengers, the bandits have released the Managing Director of Bank of Agriculture, Alwan Hassan, after ransom was paid and recently released a pregnant woman on compassionate ground.
The whereabouts of the remaining 61 passengers remain unknown.
Speaking in Kaduna, the spokesman of the relatives of abducted passengers, Dr Abdulfatai Jimoh, said: “It’s been 52 days of captivity, fear, anxiety, tears, agony and trauma and recently, despair. We cannot wait for this to come to an end.
“Amidst this depressing situation, NRC announced its planned resumption of train services from Monday 23rd May 2022.
“Nigerians have clearly expressed their opposition to this highly insensitive decision given that 61 Nigerians are still languishing in deep forest in the hands of their abductors,” he said.
The spokesperson said the task as directed by President Buhari was simple but has not been attended to by the NRC.
“We have been kept in the dark to continue agonising, some family members are now on the verge of a mental stability challenge.
“One can only imagine the physical, mental and emotional status of our relatives in captivity,” he said.
He said the claim by the Managing Director of NRC, Mr Fidet Okhiria, that he has been in regular contact with relatives of the kidnapped passengers is untrue and described it as “deliberate misinformation” least expected of a public servant of his standing.
“We want to put it on record that the MD of NRC, Mr Fidet Okhiria, has not met any relatives of the abducted passengers since this incident occurred.
“We made several attempts to meet him but all our efforts were to no avail. We submitted the email addresses of leaders of our group to Malam Yakubu Mahmud, Deputy Director and spokesperson NRC for the purpose of starting the situation room, but it has been one excuse or the other as nothing has been done in this regard,” he said.
The group also demanded the replacement of the top management of the NRC while urging the president to direct all security agencies involved in the rescue effort to accelerate action for those in captivity to be reunited with their families.