In a bid to beef up security and forestall banditry attacks on Abuja-Kaduna rail line, the Federal Government has acquired six operational vehicles with well equipped modern security gadgets, alongside five high quality X-Ray Baggage Scanners.
Speaking while handing over the vehicles and other security gadgets to the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani who represented the Minister, Rotimi Amaechi said that, the vehicle will not only help the security men move from one location to the other with ease, but will further aid in prompt intervention whenever there is an emergency.
She further stated that, government is determined to secure and protect the nation’s railway transportation system.
She said “Remember this is a project that has long been completed, commissioned and is operational, so this was a project for 2021, at least to improve the security apparatus for the patrolling of that route and so, the ministry has to procure these vehicles to support NRC and the Nigeria Police working on that route to effectively police that route”.
She added that “the security apparatus we have for most of the rail track has a number of components into it. We have the local people that are patrolling, the Civil Defence, the police corps of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, and we have locations where stations are, where we need the security men to be able to move from one location to the other in addition to the fact that we are also looking at surveillance applications and fibre optical equipment too but for the movement of the security, we need these vehicles.
“The vehicles are not meant to be plying on the rail tracks, it is to aid what the security agents are doing. If there is an emergency call, they will be able to move from point A to B and it may not necessarily be along the rail track. It is part of the things that they need to do to keep the place safe. ”
She stated that the vehicles were acquired through a proper procurement process.
In his Response, the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Engr. Fidet Okhiria said “this is to show that we have risen up to the challenges we are facing with insecurity and the minister has decided to buy us some vehicles to ease insecurity on the tracks, so that is why we are here today.
He said “What we are doing is the handing over of the six Hilux vehicles that can be used as patrol vehicles in aiding the security personnel in moving about and ensuring the tracks.”
It could be recalled that in October 2021, some suspected bandits attacked and destroyed a portion of the Abuja-Kaduna rail track with explosives, forcing a disruption of train services on the route, but the prompt and timely intervention of the minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, brought back normalcy on the route.