A total of 170 passengers who boarded the AK-9 train bombed by terrorists on Monday have reunited with their families and loved ones, the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, disclosed in a release yesterday.
This is even as the corporation added that in spite of ongoing effort to reach out to families affected by the unfortunate incident, the whereabouts of 21 passengers is unknown.
A release signed by NRC Managing Director, Engr. Fidet Okhiria for the umpteenth time, insisted that 362 passengers were on the manifest and not 970 as circulated in some news blogs.
“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.
“You would recall that on the 28th of March, 2022, suspected bandits attacked the last evening train, AK9 on the Abuja – Kaduna train service with explosives, leading to the death of some passengers and destruction of the train and track. Because of 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.
“While in this mournful mood, it is also important to inform members of the public and the press about the latest development and what the corporation is doing to restore train services. This update has become absolutely necessary so as to prevent the circulation of falsehood or misleading information to the general public.
“For the records, there were eleven (11) coaches on the train worked by Loco 2502, which is made up of four (4) SPA coaches with 56 sitting capacity per coach and 7 SP coaches with 88 sitting capacity per coach. Thus, the total seat capacity of the train is 840 seats. You may also recall that the Train Manifest contained 362 validated passengers aboard the train.
“The orporation is also not resting on its oars as she has heavily moved human and material resources to the accident site to make sure that train services resumed without further delays in other to reduce the stress that our passengers are currently going through. 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.
“It may also interest you to know that arrangements have equally been put in place for increased security along the track and on board the train to prevent the recurrence of the unfortunate incident.
“Once again, our hearts go out to the families of those that lost their loved ones and that of those that are still missing. Be assured that the corporation is with you in this challenging time,” the statement read.