Train Bomb Attack: We had intelligence before the incident – Fed Govt
Reports emerged on Saturday, stating that the federal government has had prior knowledge of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack before it eventually happened and claimed several lives.
The federal Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who made this known in an interview with BBC Pidgin, said vital intelligence gathering had revealed that an imminent attack would befell the Abuja train.
He said the security report informed his move to seek approval of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, for the procurement of surveillance equipment.
It will be recalled that the Minister had proposed N3.7bn worth of equipment to FEC to help safeguard the rail track against terrorist attacks, but the proposal was reportedly turned down.
After the attack on Monday, which left about eight passengers dead, and 25 hospitalized, while a yet to be ascertained number of others were kidnapped by armed bandits, the Minister said they would still meet with FEC next week over the equipment.
According to him, the train would remain shut down pending the procurement of the security equipment which would help in guaranteeing the safety of passengers.
The Minister also revealed that the ministry is working towards engaging local vigilantes who would monitor and secure the rail track.
He said, “We are not reopening the train until there are surveillance equipment, we will also ensure that the army officers are on the rail track to secure the place and make sure passengers are safe.
“We will employ local vigilantes who would protect the rail track and the Nigerian Air Force has also agreed to always fly by train.
“Prior to the attack, we had intelligence that the bandits may strike anytime so we went to the cabinet to approve money for the surveillance equipment but the approval was not given.
“That day, I acted like a prophet, I told the cabinet that if the approval was not given, and the train is attacked, passengers may die, and now we have lost eight persons. We are going back to them next week”.