The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has disclosed that the attack on the Kaduna-bound train by bandits could have been averted if necessary digital security equipment were provided.
Amaechi made this known in a chat with reporters on Tuesday during a visit to the scene of the incident accompanied by the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki and the Minister for Police Affairs, Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi.
He said his colleagues denied the request for necessary digital security and crime prevention equipment for the rail lines in the country, adding that he warned about possible attacks on the infrastructure which necessitated his request for the equipment which cost N3 billion.
Amaechi, however, expressed sadness over the terror attack and condoled with the families of those who lost loved ones in the tragic accident.
The minister said that the renovation of the train tracks, locomotives and coaches will cost more than the initial fund required.
He, therefore, urged all agencies that need to give approvals for the surveillance equipment and sensors for effective monitoring of the rail tracks to do so quickly, to forestall future attacks.
He said, “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 were dead, 25 persons were 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’ve lost is more than N3 billion.
“We’ve lost tracks, we’ve lost locomotives and coaches. We’ve lost human beings. And the equipment is just N3 billion.
“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.”