MINISTER of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi has revealed that he warned about possible attacks on the Abuja-Kaduna rail line.
The minister who spoke while reacting to the attack on a Kaduna-bound train on Monday night, noted that the incident could have been avoided if his warning was heeded.
Briefing journalists after visiting the scene of the incident on Tuesday, Amaechi said he requested for necessary digital security and crime prevention equipment that could forestall the attack.
He said the request was not approved.
According to him, the attack could have been averted with appropriate digital security equipment.
“We knew what the problem would be. We knew we needed to have digital security equipment. We applied for it.
“Because if we had that equipment, you will see nobody on that track. And I warned that lives will be lost. Now, lives are lost. Eight persons are dead, 25 persons are in the hospital.
“We don’t know how many persons have been kidnapped. And the cost of that equipment is just N3 billion. The cost of what we have lost is more than N3 billion.
“We have lost tracks, we have lost locomotives and coaches. We have lost human beings. And the equipment is just N3 billion,” Amaechi said.
According to the minister, it will take more than N3 billion to replace equipment lost to the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna rail route.
“To fix all the things on that track now will cost us more than N3 billion. And now even the things we said give us the approval to buy – at the time we asked for it, the dollar was N400, now it is N500. When you come with sincerity to government and your colleagues and people are stopping you, it is annoying.”
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has summoned Amaechi, Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika and the Chief of Defense Staff, Lucky Irabor, over the attack on the Kaduna Airport and the Abuja-Kaduna train.
Also to appear before the House are the Chief of Army Staff, Faruk Yahaya; Chief of Air Staff (the Director-General of Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN); the Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria; the Inspector General of Police, Usman Akali; and the National Security Adviser, Mohammed Monguno.
The House is to meet with the officials on Wednesday.