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Relatives of the abducted persons in the Abuja-Kaduna train attack have warned the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Nigerian Railway Corporation not to resume services on the Abuja-Kaduna route until their loved ones abducted by bandits are released.
They also lambasted Amaechi for declaring presidential ambition few days after the train attack which claimed more than eight lives and left 26 travellers injured while scores were kidnapped.
According to them, it was most uncharitable that Amaechi under whose nose the attack occurred as a minister was celebrating rather than resigning after the attack.
Chairman of the Concerned Relatives of Abducted Persons, Dr Abdulfatai Jimoh, in a statement said it is inhumane for the NRC to resume operations while the kidnapped victims are still languishing in the forest.
The angry relatives vowed to disrupt train services on the Abuja-Kaduna route if the victims are not rescued before the resumption of train services.
The train attack occurred on March 28, leaving at least seven people dead and over 100 unaccounted for.
On Tuesday, the families had issued a 72-hour ultimatum to ensure the release of their loved ones.
Some of the family members claim they have spoken to the bandits. They claimed the bandits did not make any specific demands.
Jimoh said, “It is true that we gave the Federal Government 72 hour ultimatum which expired yesterday (Thursday) midnight. We are grateful to God that before the expiration of the 72 hours, we heard from the Federal Government after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday through the Minister of Information that the government is already on top of the situation with what has happened.
“We acknowledged it and we appreciate it. But what we want to add is that the government should speed up the process of discussion with them (bandits) so that they can come out to release our people soonest. This is our appeal now.”
“The NRC should not be talking about restarting their services now when our people are in captive because what is the assurance that if they start services now that people that will be board the train are safe; what measure (s) have they put in place to guarantee the security of those that are going to patronise their services. We don’t want the reoccurrence of this.
“The first thing should be to get the captives out and then they can put adequate measures in place and resume service so that this does not happen again in the future.”
Abdulmalik Attah, who said he had his 85-year-old mother and sister in the custody of the bandits, claimed he had been in frequent touch with the bandits.
“I have spoken to the bandits. I was one of the first guys that spoke with them. I’ve spoken with them 11 times. And asides me, I don’t think anybody has done that. And what did they say?
“In the first instance, they said they had their targets on that train, that it weren’t our parents and brothers and sisters that they aimed at, but that these were just necessary evil.
“And what did they tell me? That the governor has been running his mouth; and that’s why they came to his doorstep. And that this is just the beginning; that they will go further than this. I spoke with them, they told me that.”