Transportation

Train attack: Reps grill security chiefs today

The House of Representatives will on Tuesday grill heads of Nigeria’s security apparatus over the recent attacks on the Kaduna International Airport and the Abuja-Kaduna rail line.

Several officials of the House confirmed the rescheduled meeting to our correspondent on Monday.

The security chief had last Wednesday failed to appear before the leadership of the House, a development that drew the ire of the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, who chairs the meeting.

The House had at the plenary last Tuesday resolved to invite the relevant ministers and those in charge of the nation’s security architecture to an emergency meeting over the attacks.

After an extensive debate on the growing insecurity in the nation at the plenary last Tuesday, the House resolved that its leadership should meet with the heads of military and paramilitary agencies to discuss the security situation in the country.

Those to appear before the House included the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd.); Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd.); Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Leo Irabor; Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao; Director-General, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi; and the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba.

Other invitees were Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika; Director-General, NCAA, Musa Nuhu; Managing Director, FAAN, Rabiu Yadudu; Managing Director, NAMA, Mathew Pwajok; and General Manager, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria.

However, all the ministers, security chiefs, and officials sent representatives except the NAMA boss who appeared in person, a development that miffed the lawmakers led by the deputy speaker, Wase.

Meanwhile, 146 of the 362 passengers on the ill-fated Abuja-Kaduna train have been unreachable, six days after the train was attacked by terrorists.

The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr Fidet Okhiria, made this known in a statement obtained on Monday.

He, however, said the number of safe passengers had risen to 186.

Okhiria said 51 phone numbers on the manifest were either switched off or unreachable since Tuesday morning, while 35 phone numbers on the manifest were ringing, but no response from the other end.

He also noted that 60 phone numbers on the manifest when called, responded non-existent.

The NRC boss clarified that 22 persons were reported missing by their relatives while eight persons had been confirmed dead.

The statement read in part, “51 phone numbers on the manifest are either switched off or have not been reachable since Tuesday morning and 35 phone numbers on the manifest are ringing, but no response from the other end. 60 phone numbers on the manifest when called, responded non-existent.

”The statement is aimed at updating Nigerians on the ongoing development regarding the clearing of the incident site (recovery of the rolling stock, repairs of the track) and status of Passengers that were onboard the AK9 train of Monday, March 28.

”Of the 362 validated passengers on board the attacked AK9 train service on March 28, 186 persons on the manifest are confirmed to be safe and at their various homes (additional 14 persons confirmed safe today).

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