Again, there are indications that the Federal Government is at crossroads on the resumption of train services, particularly, along the Abuja-Kaduna route.
Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, on Wednesday, gave this indications when he said it would be insensitive to the plight of families whose loved ones are still in captivity, if the government recommences the Abuja-Kaduna train services for now.
He said the government is looking at the best options in terms of surveillance including concessioning it in a public-private partnership arrangement.
The minister bared his mind while briefing correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Fielding questions on suspension of service following the March 2022 attack on the train, he remarked that two core matters remain at the heart of the Abuja-Kaduna train services.
According to him, these include families traumatised over their members still in captivity of terrorists and the need to have surveillance facilities to monitor the tracks.
Commenting on a definite timeline when the initiative would be executed, Muazu said: “If I give a timeline, I’ll be lying to you. It will be insensitive to restart the service if some families weep day and night over their members still in the bush.”
He said the government is mindful of the cost involved but should be able to report definite progress in about a month time.
Recall that passengers on board the Abuja-Kaduna bound train had come under attacks from terrorists leading to the death of eight persons and over 50 abductees. Though half of the passengers abducted have regained their freedom, family members of the victims have forbidden the Federal Government to recommence the train services unless all the captives are released.
Meanwhile, following presentations at the FEC, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development under the purview of Sadiya Umar got approximately N43.4 billion to construct a number of roads in the North destroyed as a result of insurgency.
Today, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development presented to council on behalf of the North-East Development Commission four memos.
The roads in question cut across construction, reconstruction for five states of the North-East region, namely Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe and Bauchi. For Borno, there are 22.5-kilometer road that is to be reconstructed, specifically Ngon-Koshode and Ngon-Dosmari-Zabamari-Kongologo-Kajari road with the contract sum of N13,553,902,668.95.
Mrs. Umar explained that the second contract involves the reconstruction of 53-Kilometer Gombe-Abba to Kriffy Road in Gombe and Bauchi states in the contract sum of N11,697,355,449.61.
She said, “The other road is the 54-kilometer Mutai in Gudal Road in Yobe State with the contract sum of N12,199,182,845.70.
“The fourth one is the one for Adamawa State, Garkida road, it has a contract sum of N6,202,214,413.29 inclusive of 7.5 VAT. Garkida road in Adamawa State is located at the fringes of the Sambisa forest.
“All these roads are being taken into consideration and selected in conjunction with the state governments and other critical stakeholders. These roads are expected to stimulate our economic activities, enhance security and facilitate the freer movement of goods and people in these affected states within the zone.
“The ministry also is in collaboration with the Ministry of Works and Housing and in the co-funding of various roads in the North-East region….This is to address issues of rebuilding, reconstructing, rehabilitating, 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 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.
“All the four memos were considered and graciously approved by council”.