…How Apapa Customs Blocked Train Tracks with Contraband Cargoes
The Senate Committee on Land Transportation has urged the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) to collaborate with Nigerian security agencies working to rescue victims of train bomb incident still in captivity.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transportation, Mr AbdulFatah Buhari, made the appeal during his oversight visit to Obafemi Awolowo train Station in Oyo on Wednesday.
He said that there was a need for the Chinese to support security in Nigeria to help check such attacks.
Buhari said that they could help address such challenges by putting technology, such as Wifi and other facilities in place, to ease tracking.
“One of the strongest countries in the world today is Russia, they are asking for help from other countries.
“If one is asking for help, it does not mean that you have lost confidence your security.
“Today is the 44th day after the train bomb incident occurred, some victims are still in captivity.
“We need solution; if the victims are my sister, brother or mother or myself, would I have the courage to attend this function?
“The Chinese can talk to our government, they may not tell us the style due to security issues but they can collaborate with our security agencies to rescue our people alive,” Buhari said.
He called on CCECC to collaborate with federal ministries to provide access roads and enhance electricity supply to improve service delivery by the Nigerian Railway Corporation on the Lagos–Ibadan standard rail gauge.
In his response, the Project Manager, CCECC, Mr Xia Lijun, commiserated with the families of the train bomb victims.
“This is not the first time the attack happened on that route; the first attack took place in October, but the bomb affected one track and we were able move all passengers to a safer place.
This attack that took place on March 28 affected two tracks and it was difficult for the train to move further.
” We all know that Nigeria is facing security issues which an be addressed, if we get good technical service and the Senate use their office to approve, such incident will not happen again,” Lijun said.
He said that CCECC was working closely with Nigerian government to see the best equipment that would be suitable for the country.
Lijun said that the Chinese Embassy was aware of the challenges and was working with the Nigerian government to address the issues.
The Project Manager, Team Construction Company, Mrs Precious Ebare, explained the challenges facing the company at Apapa rail track.
She said that the custom long room situated on the track was yet to be demolished.
Ebare said that some of the contraband goods seized by Customs were on the rail track and slowing completion of the track to the terminal.
She said the challenge of insufficient power supply at Ibadan station was also affecting the completion of the rail project.
Ebare pleaded with the committee to use their office to get authorities to improve on power supply, to enable them to finish their project within the scheduled time frame
The Managing Director, NRC, Mr Fidet Okhiria, represented by Director Operations of NRC, Mr Niyi Alli, said the corporation had set up situation rooms and was working with security agencies to rescue the abducted passengers.
Okhiria said that the corporation was committed to putting technology and additional measures in place to address security challenges.
He said they were also collaborating with the construction company on three years of technical support.
Okhiria said that the Abuja service would resume operations when the management had full confidence on security of passengers.
The managing director said that NRC was working with security agencies in ensuring that lives of passengers were safe while boarding their trains.
He said that the NRC management would have a meeting with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to find solutions to the challenges at the Apapa track completion.