Worried by the increasing insecurity and threat to the Abuja-Kaduna rail line, the federal government has procured six high tech Hilux vehicles to monitor the tracks.
Speaking at the handover of the vehicles to the Nigeria Railway Corporation, (NRC), the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, represented by the permanent secretary, Magdalene Ajani said: “We are all aware of the security situation in the country as a whole but, the minister thought about supporting NRC on the security architecture of the Idu-Abuja rail track.
“Remember this is a project that has long being completed, commissioned and operational, so this was a project for 2021, at least to improve the security apparatus for the patrolling of that route and so, the ministry has to procure these vehicles to support NRC and the Nigeria Police working on that route to effectively police that route and that is why the ministry procured this.”
On the workings of the vehicles, the minister said “the security apparatus we have for most of the rail track has a number of components in it. We have the local people that are patrolling, the civil defence, the police and the staff of the Nigerian Railway Corporation and we have locations where stations are, where we need the security men to be able to move from one location to the other in addition to the fact that we are also looking at surveillance applications and fibre optic equipment too but for the movement of the security, they need these vehicles.
“The vehicles are not meant to be plying on the rail tracks, it is to aid what the security agents are doing. If there is an emergency call, they will be able to move from point A to B and it may not necessarily be along the rail track. It is part of the things that they need to do to keep the place safe.”
The minister also said the ministry is working on procuring more security gadgets, noting that “ those ones are still in the procurement process, we have gotten approval from NITDA which is one of the requisitions because they are tech-based equipment agency and when the procurement process is concluded, they will be installed.”
Also, the managing director of the NRC, Engr. Fidet Okhiria said: “this is to show that we have rise up to the challenges we are facing with insecurity and the minister has decided to buy us some vehicles to ease insecurities off the tracks. What we are doing is the handing over of the six Hilux vehicles that can be used as a patrol in aiding the security personnel in moving about and ensure that the tracks are secured and guarded.”
On how the vehicles will get to the tracks, the NRC boss said “if we have issues, like maybe someone is arrested, we have to move there and we have to get there. And we are also to get some machines to put at various stations, two or three machines for easier access so that if there is any report, we can get there. In other words, these machines are mainly on ground or areas that are accessible and where is not accessible, we can send the vehicles there.
“This is a step in a right direction and these vehicles were already in the plan.”
Recall that the Abuja-Kaduna rail track was bombed on October 21 after suspected Boko Haram terrorists planted explosives on the track.