The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has in an apparent expression of frustration, explained how the terror attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train, which recorded some casualties, could have been prevented.
Amaechi lamented that the tragic incident could have been avoided if the N3 billion digital security equipment they had been pushing for had been acquired.
This was made known by Amaechi while speaking to journalists after visiting the scene of the attack, where he described the situation as devastating.
What the Minister of Transportation is saying
Amaechi said that the installation of the security sensors was delayed due to the rigorous procurement process, adding that this equipment will let you know when people are around the rail tracks.
He said, ”The process is tedious, the approval is also tedious, we have not been able to get that approval that will lead to the purchase of those items.
”If those items were here, drones alone will tell you that there are people around the rail tracks because there are drones, there are equipment that picks sensors if you touch the track.
”But unfortunately the process has not been able to get us that approval for us to import those items. So for me, I am devastated and I honestly don’t know what to tell Nigerians anymore.’’
The minister said it was not enough to have cameras inside the train, adding that a high tech camera that would detect objects from afar was necessary.
The minister said, ”The cameras in the train cannot pick what is happening outside. What you need is a camera that shows 100 metres away from the train, that there are unknown persons carrying guns.
”Then, we can take precaution, but we have done all we need to do in the ministry of transport and we have forwarded to them for approval but we have not gotten approval.
”The patrol vehicles are available but they cannot reach everywhere. For the areas the patrol can patrol, it will forestall. We are thinking about the possibility of employing natives until we get that equipment. We also need helicopters, beyond the drones, we need helicopters.’’
The solution to bandits’ attacks on trains
Amaechi, who stated that the NRC may suspend the evening train, however, noted that stopping was not the solution but providing appropriate technology that would ensure security.
He said, ”The solution is not in running away from the militants or the bandits. The solution is providing the technology that lets you know that they are around.
”If it lets you know that they are around, there are two actions to take; either for the security men to go after them or you don’t ply within that period.
”But the agencies that need to give us approval have to give us the approval because we need to purchase those items.
”No matter the cost, you cannot equate it with the eight lives that were lost. The equipment was just N3billion and we are about to place an order for the one in Lagos but we need to know what is happening on the track, it is everywhere in the world.’’
Amaechi, who had earlier warned of the importance of getting approval for the acquisition of this security equipment because of the involvement of human lives, was critical of the approval process.
He maintained that it needs to be done so that human lives will not continue to be lost.