In a bid to safeguard the rail lines from attack, the federal government yesterday procured and handed over six hilux patrol vehicles inputed with radar scanners to the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to monitor the Abuja-Kaduna corridor.
Government had mulls the idea of installing security gadgets along the Abuja-Kaduna rail tracks following a recent bomb explosion at the corridor.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, while handing over the vehicles to the management of NRC led by its Managing Director, Mr. Fidet Okhiria at the Idu Train Station, Abuja, said: “We are all aware of the security situation in the country as a whole but, we thought about supporting NRC on the security architecture of the Idu-Abuja rail track.”
According to him, “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 tor 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.”
Amaechi noted: “The security apparatus we have for most of the rail track has a number of components into it. we have the local people that are patrolling, the civil defence, the police corp 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, we need these vehicles.”
The minister, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mrs. Magdalene Ajani, further added that the vehicles are not meant to be plying on the rail tracks, stating: 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.”
He further said that six of the hilux vehicles were procured and it went through a proper procurement process.
“The sensors are the accostic and fibre optic equipment we are talking about. 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 and when the procurement process is concluded, they will be installed”, Amaechi said.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director, NRC, Mr. Fidet Okhiria stated that the move was to show that the corporation have risen up to the security challenges its facing, adding: “the minister has decided to buy us some vehicles to ease insecurities off the tracks so that is why today, what we are doing is the handing over of the six Hilux vehicles that can be used as a patrol of 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 MD noted, “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 at areas that are accessible and where is not accessible, we can send the vehicles there and this is a step in a right direction and these vehicles were already in the plan”, he concluded.