By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
Following the recent attack on the Abuja-Kaduna rail track which led to the suspension of service by the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, has said that the attack will expedite the procurement process of a digital security system that the Ministry had planned to put in place.
Amaechi who spoke during an unscheduled assessment tour of the train service to ascertain the level of damage caused on the rail tracks after it was attacked by bandits with explosives, said that the Ministry will re-present the proposal for digital security system to Cabinet, so as to get their approval and proceed with installation.
The Minister who explained that the essence of the digital security system is to enable the Ministry know when there is an impact on the rail, reassured Nigerians that there will be improved security on the Abuja-Kaduna route.
According to him, “We want to assure the public that beyond the physical presence of Police and the Military along this track, we will get a rail bus for patrol regularly so that we can see what is happening even before the train takes off, and it will be end-to-end.
“Apart from this, there have not been any security challenges on this track. What this has done to us is that we would fasten the procurement process of the digital security system that we planned to put in place. It went to the Cabinet two weeks ago and it was returned. So, we’ll re-present it to the Cabinet to ensure that we get approval for the installation.
“The essence of the digital security system is to enable us to know when there’s an impact on the rail to forestall this kind of attack. We will get the Police involved so that they will be here before the installation of the digital facility”, he said.
Amaechi also pointed out that although he may not be happy that the attack occurred, it has, however, shown that Nigerian Engineers are now capable of constructing their own railway.
He said, “I am not happy that the security breach took place but what it has done is to show that we actually have the capacity to fix our rail. The essence of this is to make sure that by the time the Chinese leaves we should start the gradual process of constructing our own railway. The repair was done by our own Nigerian Engineers in record time and by tomorrow (Saturday) we will run the first train”, he said.
For his part, the NRC Managing Director, Fidet Okhiria noted that the NRC will run more trains on the corridor so as to keep vandals away.
According to him, “It’s better to run more trains as running more trains would not give people the opportunity to tamper/interfere with the tracks, because a train passed from Abuja to Kaduna in not up to 30 minutes when the explosions were executed and planted.
“If we have all the trains on the track, the people would have to work very hard to be able to plant explosives.
“So tomorrow, we are running four trips so that we can run from Abuja to Kaduna and balance the train set while we are working on the locomotive that was affected, after fixing the locomotive, we would run our usual ten trips”, he disclosed.