Rail Security: FG mulls surveillance, PPP arrangement for Abuja-Kaduna rail service

For the Abuja-Kaduna rail services to resume, Surveillance Cameras and other security gadgets and precautions must be in place for the safety of passengers, the Federal Government has said.

The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, made this disclosure while briefing State House correspondents after this week’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja.

Considering the ugly incidences of the kidnapping of passengers along the route by terrorists, the Federal Government also said it will be insensitive to resume the Abuja-Kaduna train service as all abducted passengers are yet to be freed.

The Minister said the resumption of the Abuja-Kaduna train service, which was suspended following an attack that took place in March, would translate to insensitivity, as relatives of some kidnapped passengers remain in captivity-necessitating the need to have surveillance facilities to monitor the tracks 24/7 prior to resumption.

The minister said the Government is therefore looking at the best options in terms of surveillance, including concessioning under a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

When asked to give a timeframe on the resumption of the Abuja/Kaduna train service, Mu’azu said: “If I give a timeline, I’ll be lying to you. It will be insensitive to restart the service when some families are weeping day and night over their family members still in the bush”.

The minister further said the Federal Government is mindful of the cost involved, but should be able to report definite progress in about four weeks.

The Minister also disclosed that FEC approved a contract for the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) worth about N1.49 billion for the repair of cranes.

Other outcomes from the FEC meeting, as revealed by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiyya Umar Farouq, include the approval of over N42 billion for the construction and reconstruction of roads in five north-eastern States of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe and Bauchi.

She said the roads are being taken into consideration and selected in conjunction with the state governments and other critical stakeholders.

To address issues of rebuilding, reconstructing, rehabilitating, and reintegrating the people of the north-east who have been affected by the insurgency, we are also in partnership and collaboration with the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in the area of engaging reputable local consultants for the design and supervision of the major works in line with the executive order five for promoting local content in science, engineering and technology, the Minister said.

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