Bandits Attack: FG Suspends Train Services At Ajaokuta, Lagos-Kano Indefinitely
The Nigeria Railway Corporation has suspended the Lagos-Kano and Ajaokuta train services indefinitely due to fear of terrorist attacks.
This is coming after bandits reportedly attacked train passengers at Ajaokuta station along Warri-Itakpe route on Monday. The bandits killed six vigilantes, while many sustained injuries.
NRC in a WhatsApp message to train passengers said “Reports from the Ajaokuta axis are sketchy concerning the activities of bandits, kidnappers and herdsmen around the motorable areas. Please endeavour to always use the Itakpe axis of the train station for now. Thanks.”
It was also gathered that the Lagos-Kano train services were suspended because of the high level of insecurity in Niger and Kaduna states, which are the routes of the train heading to Kano from Lagos.
The NRC Managing Director, Fidet Okhiria, confirmed the suspension of the train services at the Ajaokuta station and the Lagos-Kano route on Tuesday.
Speaking on the services along the Warri-Itakpe route, he stated, “We have not stopped (services), rather what we said was that we are not going to be stopping at the Ajaokuta station.
“This is because yesterday (Monday), while passengers were leaving the station with their private cars and buses, they had people shooting at them. So we said we will not stop there again for passengers.
The train is still running, but for now we will not be stopping at Ajaokuta because they have some concerns there. We heard that they removed their traditional ruler in that location and the local government chairman there.”
According to him, apart from the Abuja-Kaduna route, the corporation had also suspended services on the Lagos-Kano route because of security concerns.
Asked if there was any other train service that was not operating aside from the Abuja-Kaduna service, the NRC boss said, “No, apart from the Lagos to Kano (train service) because the Kaduna route is affected by the activities of bandits; and it (Lagos-Kano route) was stopped because we have to pass through Minna and Kaduna when heading to Kano. So we have to stop it for now.”
Okhiria, however, stated that the Federal Government had improved the security on the trains, adding that more men from the police and civil defence were being deployed to protect the facilities.
“We have asked them to intensify security by giving us more policemen and civil defence officers,” he stated.
When contacted, the Coordinator of Warri-Itakpe Train Service, Abdulganiyu Sanni, said that train activities in Ajaokuta station would resume if the local government could provide security and ensure security for passengers.
He said, “What we understood is that the vehicles that were conveying passengers to their various places, one of the vehicles was ambushed and terrorists shot at the vehicle and the passengers came down from the vehicle and ran into the bush. I am not aware that anyone was taken or died. The vehicle conveying them has only six or five persons.
“One of the passengers called and said that everyone escaped. What we as railway can do is to protect our passengers. We have advised them to use the adjacent stations on Itogbe or Itakpe because we cannot provide security”