The transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi, hinted Tuesday that the fatal attack on the Kaduna-bound train could have been averted.
“I am devastated and I honestly don’t know what to tell Nigerians anymore; the process of procuring the integrated security surveillance and monitoring solution has been tedious, if the processes were shortened, we would have saved lives,” Mr Amaechi wrote on his verified Facebook page.
The minister also posted a video of his visit to the scene of the attack on the train.
He briefed journalists during the visit about steps his ministry had been taking to forestall such an attack and why the steps have yet to materialise. He emphasised the purchase of drones for monitoring the tracks.
“The process is tedious… You know if these items were here…..drones would have told you that there were people walking around here. There are drones that pick censors….. Unfortunately, the process has not been able to get us that approval that we need to acquire these items…… What you need is a camera that tells you look o, ten to twenty meters away from the train or hundred kilometres from the train, there is human activity, they are unknown persons carrying guns, then you can take precautions…,” Mr Amaechi said.
He said the railway corporation needs helicopters to complement the drones when provided.
“We even need helicopters apart from the drones. The solution is not running away from the bandits, it’s to provide the technology that lets you know they’re around. If you know they’re around, there are two options you can take: get security men to go after them or you don’t fly within that period. Those agencies that need to give us approval need to give us the approval because we need to purchase the items…”
Mr Amaechi’s lamentations indicate he is frustrated by the bureaucracy in Abuja that characterise the purchase of such equipments. Although he did not elaborate on which agency is delaying the purchase and use of the necessary materials, any such purchases (of drones, helicopters and other military equipment) must be authorised by the Office of the National Security Adviser.
In an effort to end the delay Mr Amaechi spoke about, President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday directed that the processes for getting the materials should be concluded immediately.
“President Buhari has directed the immediate conclusion of all the processes for the implementation of the integrated security surveillance and monitoring solution for the Abuja to Kaduna railway line and that this be extended to cover the Lagos-Ibadan railway line,” presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu wrote in a Tuesday evening statement.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Abuja-Kaduna train was attacked by terrorists Monday evening.
At least eight people have been confirmed killed in the attack with many other passengers still missing.
Over 300 passengers were on the train, according to the passenger manifest released to the Kaduna State Government.
Many of the passengers have been rescued while some that sustained (gunshot) injuries are receiving treatment in hospitals in Kaduna.