The Minister of Transportation, Honourable Rotimi Amaechi has decried the continuous delay of procurement process in acquiring the necessary security apparatus that would ensure adequate security within the railway lines across the country.
The Minister bore his mind, during an inspection tour to the scene of the Monday night terrorist attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train.
Amaechi who was obviously devastated over the sad incident said that his ministry has taken the necessary measures to make train services across the country a safe heaven, but lamented that the procurement process that will lead to the purchase of security equipment is taking so long.
He added that the cameras in the train is not capable of picking what is outside the train. He said the security gadget needed, is the type that can detect security bridge 100 meters away.
The Minister confirmed that eight persons lost their lives, while twenty five who sustained various degree of injuries during the attack were in the hospitals receiving treatment.
The Minister admitted that proper account on the figures of missing persons, kidnapped and those injured could not be ascertain at the moment, as
some of the victims who are either staff of NRC or cleaning agencies, were not captured on the manifest.
He said the total number of passengers on the train were three Hundred and ninety eight.
“We have not been able to install the security sensors because the procurement process is a bit difficult.
To shorten the process and save lives like this but because the process is tedious, the approval is also tedious, we have not been able to get that approval that will lead to purchase those items.
If those items were here, drones alone will tell you that there are people around the rail tracks because there are drones, there are equipment pick sensors if you touch the track but unfortunately the process has not been able to get us that approval for us to import those items”.
“The cameras in the train cannot pick what is happening outside. What you need is a camera that shows 100 metres away from the train, there are unknown things carrying gun. Then, we can take precaution but we have done all we need to do in the ministry of transport and we have forward to them for approval but we have not gotten approval.
The patrol vehicles are available but they cannot reach everywhere. For the areas the patrol can patrol, it will forestall.
We are thinking about the possibility of employing natives until we get those equipment. We also need helicopters, beyond the drones, we need helicopters”, he said.
“What we need is technology that will lets you know that there are human activities or foreign activities on the track, that way, you can secure the locomotive and secure lives and i had warned earlier that it is important they get us this approval because human lives would be involved. Since that warning till today, we have had two incidences”.
“Even if they get us approval, it will take some months to acquire them from overseas to install them. We need to do that to enable us see from Kaduna-Abuja, Itakpe-Warri and from Lagos-Ibadan what is going on so that we don’t continue to lose lives because lives are important. If we don’t do that, more persons will die. The cost was about N3billion and the damage here is more than N3billion. So, if we had gotten the approval, we would have saved the N3billion and saved lives”, he added.
The Minister was in company of the Minister of State Senator Gbemisola Saraki, Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Maigari, MD Railway Engr. Fidet Okhiria and Chairman NRC Engr. Ibrahim Alhassan.