Breaking: 146 Abuja-Kaduna train passengers unreachable –NRC

One hundred and forty-six of the 362 passengers on the ill-fated Abuja-Kaduna train are unreachable six days after the train was attacked by terrorists.

The Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria, made this known in a statement obtained on Monday.

He, however, said the number of safe passengers had risen to 186.

Okhiria said 51 phone numbers on the manifest are either switched off or unreachable since Tuesday morning and 35 phone numbers on the manifest are ringing, but no response from the other end.

He also noted that 60 phone numbers on the manifest when called, responded non-existent.

The NRC boss clarified that 22 persons are reported missing by their relatives and eight persons were confirmed dead.

Part of the statement read, “51 phone numbers on the manifest are either switched off or have not been reachable since Tuesday morning and 35 phone numbers on the manifest are ringing, but no response from the other end. 60 phone numbers on the manifest when called, responded non-existent.

”The statement is aimed at updating Nigerians on the ongoing development regarding the clearing of the incident site (recovery of the rolling stock, repairs of the track) and status of Passengers that were on board the AK9 train of Monday, March 28.

”Of the 362 validated passengers on board the attacked AK9 train service on March 28, 186 persons on the manifest are confirmed to be safe and at their various homes (additional 14 persons confirmed safe today).

“Two coaches (SP 00016 and SP 00017) earlier re-railed have safely been moved to Rigasa Station.

”This brings the total number of recovered Coaches and safely moved to NRC Stations to be seven. Intensive work continues on track repairs. More concrete Sleepers were moved to site while some section of twisted tracks has been straightened.

”We remain grateful to the security agencies for all the support. We are very appreciative of Squadron Commander MOPOL 1 Kaduna’s visit to the accident site today.

”NRC will continue to update the general public of developments to …

Kaduna train attack: Attackers kidnapped foreigner, killed many – Shehu Sani

A former federal lawmaker, Shehu Sani, on Tuesday, said that the terrorists who attacked the passengers on the Abuja-Kaduna rail tracks abducted a “white man” and killed several others.

He also said the terrorists targeted the Business Class coach of the train.

Terrorists on Monday night bombed the Abuja-Kaduna rail tracks and attacked a train filled with passengers.

Subsequently, the Nigerian Railway Corporation on Tuesday also announced the suspension of train operations along the Abuja-Kaduna route indefinitely following the attacks. The train attack was coming after terrorists, numbering over 200, on Saturday invaded the Kaduna International Airport located in Igabi Local Government Area in Kaduna State, disrupting operation and killing one security personnel of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency.

The attack caused panic at the airport and reportedly grounded a Lagos-bound AZMAN aircraft scheduled to take off at 12:30pm.

But Sani, who represented Kaduna Central in the 8th Senate, through a tweet on his Twitter handle on Tuesday, noted that the attackers targeted the Business Class coach of the train.

He wrote, “I just spoke with a survivor who is a civil servant working with a public Library. She narrated that the terrorists specifically targeted the Business Class coach. They kidnapped some persons including a “white man” & killed those who resisted while she pretended to be dead.”…

Breaking: NRC suspends train operation along Kaduna-Abuja rail

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has suspended train operation along Kaduna -Abuja rail till further notice following the terrorist attack on the route between Katari and Rijana.

The NRC made this known through its Twitter handle on Tuesday morning.

NRC said, “Dear passengers, due to unforeseen circumstances, train operations along the Abuja-Kaduna route have been temporarily suspended. Further communication would be given in due course.”…

Just In: Kidnapped Kaduna Catholic priest regains freedom

Rev. Fr. Joseph Danjuma Shekari abducted by bandits on Sunday night, has regained his freedom.

The bandits had stormed the St. Monica’s Catholic Church, Ikulu Parish, in the Kauru Local Government Area of Kaduna State and kidnapped the priest at 11:30pm on Sunday night.

The bandits killed one of his aides – the cook- during the attack.

But in less than 24 hours after the attack that claimed the life of the priest’s cook, the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan on Tuesday announced the release of the priest by the bandits. The Chancellor, Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Uchechukwu Okolo, in a statement, said the priest was released by his abductors around 10:30pm on Monday. The statement read, “With hearts filled with joy, we raise our voices in a symphony of praises as we announce the return of our brother, Rev. Fr. Joseph Danjuma Shekari, who was abducted by armed persons from the Rectory at St. Monica’s Catholic Church Ikulu in Kauru Local Government Area, Kaduna State, on Sunday February 6, 2022.

“Fr. Shekari was released around 10.30pm on Monday February 7, 2022.

“As we pray for the repose of the soul of his cook who was killed during the attack, we want to thank all those who have offered prayers and entreaties for his release.

“We pray God to hasten the release of those who are still in the hands of their captors.

“All our Priests are directed to kindly celebrate Mass of Thanksgiving to God for the quick release of Fr. Shekari as well as Mass for the dead and for the departed cook of Fr. Shekari.”…

COVID-19: Nigeria registers 8,197 infections in 15 days

Nigeria has registered 8,179 COVID-19 infections in 15 days, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said on its website on Tuesday.

It said the country confirmed 584 additional infections on Monday, from the 541 recorded on Sunday, bringing the total cases to 183,087.

The public health agency added that the number of known active cases stood at 13,554, an increase from 13,152 reported on Sunday.

Again the agency did not state the percentage of variants of concern made up of the known active cases across the country.

The NCDC reported four COVID-19 related fatality within the last 24 hours.

It noted that the country, in 15 days, had also reported 72 fatalities, noting that the figure was more than double the 31 deaths its registered in July.

The agency added that about 2,648,684 samples had been tested for COVID-19 in Nigeria, a country with an estimated 200 million population.

The NCDC stated that the 584 confirmed cases were from 14 states and the FCT.

Lagos (201), Rivers (149), FCT (82), Ondo (73), Ekiti (17), Cross River (13), Oyo (11), Ogun (9), Delta (8), Osun (8), Bayelsa (4), Kaduna (4), Kano (2), Kwara (2) and Sokoto (1).

It said a multi-sectoral national emergency operations center, activated at Level 2, continued to coordinate the national response activities.

The NCDC said a total of 178 people had recovered and were discharged from various isolation centers in the country on Monday, with total recoveries nationwide since the onset of the pandemic clocking 167,310.…

Two abducted students escape in Kaduna – Police

The Kaduna State Police Command on Thursday confirmed the escape of two of the abducted students of Bethel Baptist High School, Maraban Damishi in Chikun Local Government Area of the state.

ASP Mohammed Jalige, the Command’s Public Relations Officer, confirmed this in a press statement.

Jalige said the information reached the Command about the escape of the students on Wednesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalled that bandits had invaded the school and kidnapped unspecified number of students in the early hour of June 5. Jalige said on Wednesday at about 3:30am, the Command was informed by a good samaritan that two students of the school were sighted and believed to have escaped from their captors.

He said a report was lodged with the Divisional Police Officer, Rijana, who got hold of the students, after which investigation confirmed they were victims of the bandits.

He said: “The students said that on Tuesday, July 20 , 2021, at about 6pm, they were tasked by their captors to go and fetch firewood from the nearby forest where they were held hostage.

“They however, decided to take the opportunity of not being monitored and escape to Rijana community along Kaduna-Abuja highway.

“The two boys are currently undergoing medical examination at Police Medical facility before re-uniting them with their family, while tactical approach is being intensified to secure the release of the remaining students.”

In another development, the Command’s spokesperson also disclosed that mob lynched two unknown armed men on Wednesday in Kakuri area of Kaduna metropolis.

Jalige reiterated the call of the Command on the people of the state to avoid taking laws into their hands but should instead report suspicious characters to the appropriate authorities.…

Bandits confirm 121 Bethel Baptist School pupils in their custody

Abductors of pupils of Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna State have said the have 121 of them in their custody.

The President of Kaduna Baptist Conference and Proprietor of the school, Rev. Yahaya Adamu Jangado, revealed this.

Jangado announced this while addressing reporters on Tuesday after a meeting of the management and parents of the abducted students in Kaduna.

He said: “They came and, already, the bandits were going away with a number of our students and there was an exchange of fire between the soldiers and the bandits.

“For now, we know that we have 154 students in the school hostel, as at yesterday (Monday), after the exchange of fire between the soldiers and the bandits.

“We came to the school and recovered 28 students; some of them hid in many places.

“In the course of taking them away, some students escaped and came back to the school.

“So, the total number of students we recovered on Monday was 28.

“Today (Tuesday), by the grace of God, we had a call from the bandits and they assured us that our children are well and doing okay.

“In fact, we had the privilege of speaking with a few of them.

“They counted themselves in the jungle and they gave us information that they are 121.

“When we put the number together with what we have recovered, we discovered that the number is exactly the same with the number of students we had in the hostel.”

On ransom demand, Jangado said: “They (bandits) called us to say that our children are there with them and that they were doing well.

“They were sound.

“We spoke with a few of them.

“That is the information for now.

“We called the parents here to appreciate them for their patience, understanding and calmness and also solicit their support in this trying moment.

“We assure them that as management we will do anything possible to bring back their children.”…

Passengers trapped in the bushes for hours after a Kaduna-Abuja train broke down

The train reportedly left Kaduna shortly before 7am.

Daily Trust reports that five minutes after the train departed the Rigasa Station in Kaduna, it developed a mechanical fault.

Midat Joseph, an Assistant National Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), who was one of the passengers, said the train creaked to a halt around 7am.

“I left my house as early as 5:am to join the 6:40am train but unfortunately I have been trapped here in this forest. This is not the first time I will be experiencing this mess,” Joseph told the newspaper.

Another passenger said he had a similar experience last Saturday, saying it took them five hours to get to Abuja.

An engineer of the NRC (Nigeria Railway Corporation) who addressed the passengers, told them that it would take them two hours to fix the train.

“We are very sorry, the locomotive is faulty. We have contacted the Idu Train Station for another locomotive. It would take them two hours to be here,” he said.

The passengers have been evacuated from the forest at the time of filing this story, latest reports say.

The President Muhammadu Buhari administration is erecting critical rail infrastructure across the country, in a bid to stimulate an economy hard-hit by dipping crude oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of the completed train terminals have recently been commissioned with plenty of fanfare and political-speak.