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Abuja-Kaduna Train: Protesing families of victims ground Transport Ministry

Exactly 120  days after terrorists bombed the AK-9 train conveying hundreds of passengers from Abuja to Kaduna and abducted them, families of the remaining 41 persons still in captivity, Monday, grounded activities at the Ministry of Transportation, protesting lack of decisive action to rescue their relations.

As early as 8 am, family members of the victims besieged the Federal Ministry of Transportation headquarters, Abuja, preventing workers, including top management staff, from accessing their offices.

With mats spread at the entrance gate, they dared any staff of the ministry to cross the barricade and for over four hours, they kept faith with their threat.

Amid the protest, the Transportation Ministry said efforts were being made with security agencies to rescue the victims, disclosing that negotiators had been in the bush for three weeks over the issue.

A few hours after the protest, the terrorists released four more victims, including Gladys Brumen, Oluwatoyin Ojo, Hassan Lawal and Pastor Ayodeji Oyewumi, leaving the number of those in captivity at 38.

Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, foremost women activist and politician, Hajiya Naja’atu Mohammed, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, and the Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, have condemned the viral video of the terrorists flogging the Abuja-Kaduna train hostages, urging the Federal Government to wake up to its responsibility of protecting Nigerians.

Indeed, Ortom said the video and the threat by the bandits to kidnap President Muhammadu Buhari and other government functionaries were clear indications that there was no government in Nigeria.

Victims’ families’ protest

Families of the victims also slammed the First Lady and wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha Buhari, accusing her of abandoning her motherly role, unlike her predecessor, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, who rose to the occasion in similar circumstances a few years ago when Chibok schoolgirls were kidnapped.

Interjecting while the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, was addressing the protesters, a victims’ family member, Hajia Hadiza Mohammed, said Mrs. Aisha Buhari abandoned her motherly responsibility of empathy for politics at a time family members were grieving over the fate of their loved ones held captive by terrorists.

Recalling Mrs. Jonathan famous lamentation “Chai, there is God o,” when 276 school girls were kidnapped from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, in 2014 by members of the Boko Haram sect, Mrs. Mohammed noted that the then First Lady earned applause for her motherly care, unlike her successor.

She said: “When Patience Jonathan was the First Lady of this country, she came out and she cried and her statement has now become a slogan in this country. What is our First Lady doing? Is she not a mother? Is she not a grandmother? For once, she has never come out to say anything to anybody.

“She has not done anything. She is there canvassing for women to come out and contest (elections). Half of the population that came out to vote in this country was women. She (Aisha) is there sitting wherever she is. She will come back to meet us here. Soldier come, soldier go, and barracks remain. My belief is that what goes around comes around.”

Mrs. Mohammed further noted that her little relatives were captured in the recent video released by the gunmen on Sunday, where they were seen flogging their victims.

“Madam (addressing the Permanent Secretary), do you know that those four little kids in the video that were running after their mothers when they were flogging their fathers, are my nephews and nieces? Do you know the trauma they will face when they get out of that place? Beating their fathers in their presence and teaching them how to be violent (it’s terrible),” she lamented

Also speaking, another family member of the abductees, Ahmed Ibrahim Aruwa, said the terrorists had reached out to the families demanding N100m each to release the victims.

With 41 members in their den, this brings the total sum of money being demanded to N4.1bn (Four billion, one hundred million naira only).”

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