The Nigerian Railway Corporation said the deployment of heightened security surveillance on the Abuja-Kaduna railway would not rule out the possibility of another terrorist attack.
The company’s managing director, Freeborn Okhiria, who made the disclosure on Tuesday, also said that efforts are being made to deploy security surveillance on the railways as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Okhiria said this on Arise Tv while reacting to the recent detonation of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at the Kaduna – Abuja railway line on Monday.
It was reported that around 398 passengers boarded the ill-fated train where eight people were reported dead, while others are hospitalized.
Following the incident, the President ordered the “immediate conclusion” of the implementation of the railway line safety monitoring and control solution.
The beleaguered railway line has cost Nigeria $500 million borrowed from China. So far, only $150 million has been repaid.
The NRC boss said: “We took the train yesterday. You don’t say someone ate pounded yam yesterday and died, you won’t eat pounded yam. You’re not saying that because a plane flew and crashed, you won’t use it.
“Rail remains the safest mode of transportation, regardless of the situation. So it’s up to us now to improve what we do. I said that we had 18 armed men on this train and that we had communications.
“We will install Thuraya so that if the GSM fails and the radio fails, we can resort to Thuraya.
“The problem is we are going to restore and I know we don’t give up. Nigerians don’t give up easily. They will come back again. Anyone who wants to travel must travel. We will do our best and make sure they know what we do to make using the train safe and secure.
“When we have an incident, that doesn’t rule out that there won’t be another incident even when we deploy the best of security. But what we should do is be our brother’s keeper and when you suspect something is about to happen, you report it.
He said there was no built-in security on the trains currently on the ground except for CCTV installed in the carriages.
According to him, with the presidential directive, security surveillance chains will be deployed on the railways so that when one breaks down, there is a replacement.
He said: “The coaches have CCTV and I can only speak about what is going on in the coaches. Security cannot be integrated into the NRC. You have to talk to security and you don’t fly drones without getting the proper approval and there are security contents that you have to put in your system that have to be approved. There are licenses you need to acquire.
“We want to have maximum security so that once one goes down you can have another one that can take over so we really know that a system has been put in place that is secure so that everything cannot fail at the same time.
“If the drone system fails, the sensors on the runway fail, then we’ll have the satellite to depend on and that’s what we’re working on.”