By Richard Elesho
The Governor who was in Aso Villa to update President Muhammadu Buhari on the Monday disaster and insecurity in his State disclosed that although the gunmen have made contact with some family members of the abducted persons, they were yet to demand ransom from them.
“Well, the families of those kidnapped have been contacted while some of the captives themselves have called their loved ones, saying they are doing well and they are being taken care of.
But the gunmen have not shown any sign of collecting ransom.
“As far as the Kaduna state government is concerned, we have not changed our stand on payment of ransom, so, even if they seek for that from us, we will not pay because we are not ready to do so,” he maintained.
El-Rufai claimed the State government had a security report about the plan of Boko Haram terrorists in cohort with some bandits to carry out the attack. He said his government promptly forwarded the security concerns twice in writing to the Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC, but regrettably, the corporation did nothing about it.
“We think this thing happened because we have written twice to the NRC, advising that trains on the Kaduna route should not embark on night trips because we have reports that Boko Haram was in town and they plan to attack the train at night using explosive devices,” he said.
He stressed the need for massive bombing of all bandit-infected enclaves including forest areas in the North West and North Central parts of the country.
The Governor who was emphatic that the attack was a Boko Haram assignment said the President had assured him about efforts to rescue the victims from their abductors, and that steps were being taken to flush out the gunmen in a decisive military exercise. A moody El-Rufai spoke in Hausa.
“The President assured me that necessary steps would be taken on the matter and this thing will be brought to an end in few months, and in few months, and security agents are already carrying out surveillance around where these criminals are and, by the grace of God, they will be rounded up.
“But as you know, the government will always take precautionary measures to safeguard the lives of citizens, therefore, except the victims are rescued unhurt, the airforce and ground troops will not be able to confront the criminals. So to avoid any colossal damage, the captives have to be freed first,” he said.
Gunmen attacked a train with several passengers travelling from Abuja to Kaduna at about 7.45 Monday night. No less than 8 persons were killed including two officials of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, while more than 40 people sustained injuries. A yet to be determined number of victims were abducted.