The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) says about 170 passengers that were aboard the Abuja-Kaduna train bombed by bandits on March 28 have been confirmed safe.
The train’s manifest contained 362 validated passengers. This means that 192 passengers are unaccounted for. It is also not clear if other passengers got on the train without being validated. The vehicle could carry 970 persons at a time.
Fidet Okhiria, the NRCs Managing Director, said in a statement on Saturday that the corporation was however collaborating with relevant authorities to ensure safety of the other passengers.
“The Corporation, in continuation of its concerted effort through repeated calls, has been able to confirm the safety of 170 passengers, while 21 passengers are reported missing by the relatives who made calls to us.
“The corporation is seriously collaborating with the security agencies who had already swung into action, in line with the directive of Mr President to do everything possible to rescue all those that are still missing,” he said.
Mr Okhiria stated that the corporation had also heavily moved human and material resources to the accident site to ensure resumption of train services without further delays.
He said the move was to reduce the stress currently faced by its passengers in getting to their destinations.
He said: “In practical terms, a high powered restoration team, led by directors have been working round the clock to re-rail the coaches affected by the bomb blast.
“There is a co-ordinated two-pronged simultaneous restoration approach. While Loco 2702 with re-railment and restoration materials departed Idu Station, Abuja, to the bomb blast site.
“Another team with Loco 2502 departed Rigasa Station, Kaduna, with re-railment and restoration materials to the same site.
“I am happy to inform you that as at the close of work on the 1st of April 2022, Coaches SP00004, SP00009, SP00012, SP00013 have all been re-railed and safely taken to our Rigasa Station in Kaduna.
“Restoration of track for full resumption of normal train services will continue today, 2nd April 2022.”
On safety, the NRC boss said arrangements had been put in place for increased security along the track and on board the train to prevent the recurrence of the unfortunate incident.
He consoled families of victims of the attack, saying “be assured that the corporation is with you in this challenging time.”
On March 28, suspected bandits attacked the evening train, AK9 on the Abuja–Kaduna train service with explosives.
This led to the death of no fewer than 15 passengers and the destruction of the train and track.
Due to the level of damage on the track and in honour of those that lost their lives, the corporation suspended train operations on the affected route.
There were 11 coaches on the train operated by Loco 2502, which is made up of four SPA Coaches with 56 sitting capacity per coach and seven SP Coaches with 88 sitting capacity per coach.
Thus, the total seat capacity of the train is 840 seats. The train manifest contained 362 validated passengers aboard the train.