The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) on Thursday afternoon suspended train services along the Abuja-Kaduna route after alleged terror bandits bombed the rail track which the organisation said was “vandalisation.”
Ad because of the “embarrassing” some Kaduna-bound passengers were forced to return to Abuja after their inability to get to their destination as a result of the damage on the track.
Although some persons, including Shehu Sani, a former senator, attributed the incident to bandits, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) Mr. Fidet Okhiria, blamed vandals for the act.
Senator Sani had earlier posted on his verified Twitter handle: “Yesterday (Wednesday) terrorists attacked the Kaduna-Abuja railway with an explosive and opened fire on the train, targeting the engine driver and the tank.
“This (Thursday) morning, I was onboard when our train ran over another explosive damaged rail.”
Reacting, Okhiria admitted that there was a blast on the facility which ruptured the track, forcing the corporation to halt operations.
He said, “There was an explosion but until the team that is investigating the matter comes with its report we cannot confirm whether it is a bomb or not. But there was a blast.
“Operations have been stopped for today in order to do proper inspection and we hope that before the end of the day we would have done the needful.”
Okhiria, however, refuted claims of gunshots aimed at the train driver and the tank of the train.
“There was nothing like that. Only an explosive that went up on the track. Are you aware that we even ran a train service this morning?” he stated.
The NRC boss added, “There was nothing like shooting or the train by bandits. Efforts are currently ongoing to ensure full train services are restored along that route.”
Before Okhiria’s reaction to the matter, the Abuja/Kaduna Train Service Station Manager, Paschal Nnorli, had also confirmed that there was an attack on the train, but could not tell if it was with an explosive.
“Yes, there was an attack, but right now I cannot confirm if it was an explosive or bomb attack as people are saying,” he said.
Nnorli added, “Investigations are ongoing and I’ll give you updates as they come in. Out engineers have been mobilised to the area. And right now we have suspended services.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of passengers were stranded at Rigasa Railway station in Kaduna on Thursday morning. But most of the passengers that booked their train tickets online decided to travel by road.
An NRC official at the station said there was a problem with the train and so there would be no train.
A passenger, who simply identified herself as Hajiya said they booked their tickets online to Abuja but had to return home. “My husband and I booked our tickets online but as you can see we are returning home since there will be no train for today because we heard there was a problem with the track,” she said.