Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said the lives lost to Monday night’s horrendous attack by terrorists on Kaduna bound train could have saved if his request for funds to procure equipment for digital security was approved.
The minister who took to his Facebook page to react to the attack on Tuesday, said “I am devastated and I honestly don’t know what to tell Nigerians anymore; the process of procuring the integrated security surveillance and monitoring solution has been tedious, if the processes were shortened, we would have saved lives.”
He subsequently posted a video of his visit to the scene of the attack on the train.
The minister who briefed journalists during the visit, disclosed the steps his ministry had been taking to forestall such an attack, but expressed frustration with the inability of the steps to materialize.
He told reporters that the attack would have been foiled if the procurement of the N3 billion high capacity rail track cameras and sensors was not blocked.
According to him, the equipment would eliminate all blind spots on the train corridors across the country.
He said, “We knew what the problems will be. We know we needed to have digital security equipment on the corridors. We applied for it. Let me just stop here so I don’t hurt so many people. But I heard the president has given a directive that the procurement must be completed immediately.
“If we had those equipment on the tracks, you will see the entire track. And we warned that lives would be lost. Now lives were lost. Eight persons dead and 25 persons in the hospital. We don’t know how many people have been kidnapped. And the cost of those equipment is just N3bn. The cost of what we have lost is more than N3bn.
“We have lost track. We have lost locomotives and coaches. We have lost human beings. And the equipment is just N3bn. To fix the damages will cost more than N3bn. To imagine that we just said give us the approval and not even the money. At the time we asked for it, Dollar was N400, and now its about N500. When you come with sincerity to government and people are stopping you, it is annoying.”
Amaechi said contacts tracing of passengers had started to identify everyone on board the train.
He added, “The Kaduna state government and the Nigerian Railway Corporation are all trying to make contact with those on the manifest. There are few persons who are not on the manifest like the staff of the NRC, staff of the cleaning contractor, they are not on the manifest and we may not be able to completely account for them but those on the manifest. calls are being made to reach them.”