By Frank Kintum

Four workers of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) are among those still held captive by terrorists after the Abuja-Kaduna train was attacked on March 28, 2022.

This was disclosed yesterday by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation Mr. Fidet Okhiria, at a quarterly press briefing of the corporation.

Since the attack, in which eight persons were killed, and 62 passengers abducted, the NRC is yet to resume operations on that route.

While 168 others were kidnapped or declared missing, as at the last count, 42 of the kidnapped passengers have been released by the terrorists while 35 are still in captivity.

Some of those already released are a 60-year-old woman, Hajia Aisha Hassan who was said to have been freed due to life-threatening health challenges that deteriorated recently.

The names of the six family members that were released are Abubakar Idris Garba who is the father of four kids, his wife Maryama Abubakar Bobbo, and their eldest son, Ibrahim Abubakar Garba who is 10 years old.

Others include Fatima Abubakar Garba, 7 years, Imran Abubakar Garba, 5 years old, and youngest Zainab Abubakar Garba who is only one and half years.

They also include Prof. Mustapha Umar Imam, who is a medical doctor at Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto; Akibu Lawal, Abubakar Ahmed, Rufai Mukthar Shu’aibu, and Sidi Aminu Sharif.

On the effect of the suspension of the service, Okhiria said, “We have lost N531m between March 28 when the train attack happened and August through the expected ticket sales on the suspended Abuja-Kaduna Train Service (AKTS).”

Although the NRC MD said the corporation had restored the damaged rolling stock and fixed the track, the train service would not resume without the safe release of the remaining passengers held hostage.

He said, “We believe proper security measures should be put in place. Government has set up a committee to ensure maximum security for both train passengers and facilities during operation.

“The minister (of transportation) is leading the struggle for the safe release of those still in captivity. We could not go with force to ensure no one loses their life.”

Meanwhile, Okhiria said the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge train was running four trips daily, just as the other regular train service including Warri-Itakpe line.

“Lagos-Ibadan train service has not stopped running one day. It operates four daily trips. The Itakpe-Warri line runs two trains a day,” he said.

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