The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has disclosed that following the Presidential directive by Muhammadu Buhari, that the trains resume immediately after reconstruction of the bombed section of the Abuja-Kaduna rail corridor, the Ministry has reached an agreement with the Nigerian Airforce to provide Aerial Surveillance pending installation of the “Digital Security System.”

The Minister who made this known when he visited and commiserated with the injured on admission at the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna, Kaduna State, said that the Arial cover will also be provided for the engineers who would be working on the affected portion of the rail track.

On the time when work is expected to commence on the affected section of the track, he said: “It is immediately. You can’t disobey presidential directive. If you disobey, it is at your detriment. So work will start immediately and the military has promised us security while working". Even as he refused to be drawn into giving a timeframe, saying he is not an engineer and some of the rail components will have to be imported from overseas.

In addition to the air surveillance, the Minister informed that the government intends to employ villagers as vigilantes to watch the tracks and provide information to security agencies on any suspicious activities or persons along the rail corridor, adding that the Directorate of State Security will screen such persons to ascertain they are not of questionable characters. At the hospitals visited, 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital and St Gerald Catholic hospital, the Minister met with the patients and on behalf of the government, apologised for the mishap while also assuring that although the Nigerian Army and the Kaduna State government have been offsetting the medical bills, the hospital management shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to the Ministry if the need arises.

"We must first and foremost be grateful to the army.  The CMD and I have been talking,  the army has not charged one kobo on any patient, and they have given the maximum medical treatment that they can give to any patients". Amaechi said. Speaking further, the Minister said of the 25 earlier admitted, 18 have been discharged while 7 are stiil been examined at the 44 Army Hospital.

In a chat with the media, the Chief Medical Director, 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, said: “The situation is that the clients that we received from the incident, they are all stable, we have 25 of them that we admitted and within the period they have stayed with us, we have been able to discharge some of them that are stable and some that we also discharged will be followed up in the hospital. So we told them when they should come back for removal of stitches and to also look at their psychological state”.

Setting the record straight on the number of passengers on board the AK9 train of 28th March, 2022, the Minister said “I don't know where Nigerians got the figure of over 900. There were seven coaches, that number is wrong but it is typical of most media and Nigerians to come up with figures that we can't account for”. According to him, the official number of passengers as reflected on the released manifest is 398.

Eric Ojiekwe
Director, Press & PR
March 31, 2022