The Federal Government has directed the resumption of the Abuja-Kaduna Train services by Monday, May 23, 2022, amid failed negotiations over the abducted passengers.
The directive was disclosed in a press statement issued by the Spokesman for the Nigeria Railway Corporation, Yakub Mahmood, on Monday.
The statement read in part, “The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Transportation has directed the resumption of the Abuja-Kaduna Train Services.”
It added, “The passenger train service between Abuja-Kaduna is to commence on Monday, May 23, 2022.”
According to the statement, joint efforts are made to secure the safe release of the abducted passengers being held hostage by the terrorists continue out of the public domain for strategic security reasons.
It further stated that the government further assured the relatives of the abducted passengers still in captivity that the safe rescue of the passengers was a top priority, and the resumption of train services should not be regarded as abandonment or a nonchalant attitude of the government towards their plight.
In the statement, the Board and management of the NRC said that additional security measures were being implemented at both the train stations and the track to ensure the safety of the passengers on board.
The passengers were asked to cooperate with the NRC to ensure improved service delivery, safety and comfort by complying with additional measures introduced by the NRC.
In an earlier PUNCH report, it was disclosed that the negotiations between the Federal Government and the abductors of no fewer than 68 Abuja-Kaduna train passengers might have failed following the insistence of the gunmen on the release of their commanders in exchange for the abductees.
The PUNCH gathered that the gang insisted on a swap of their men in custody with the passengers kidnapped during an attack on the train at Katari, Kaduna, on March 28.
Our correspondent learnt that the Federal Government was seeking foreign assistance and technical expertise to resolve the impasse.
Families kick, ask NRC to rescind resumption
Families of kidnapped Abuja-Kaduna train passengers have called on the NRC to rescind its decision of resuming operations on that axis.