Originally posted on October 8, 2022 @ 6:25 am
The Federal Government has stated that it paid no money for the release of 23 remaining kidnapped train passengers.
FG made the revelation on Friday, according to TheNation.
The Federal Government also said plans are ongoing to resume the suspended train service soon.
It however said it will come up with a short and long-term sustainable plan in a few months to ensure the safety of the rail line and passengers.
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo disclosed these in Abuja at a press briefing organised to officially welcome the 23 released kidnapped train passengers.
The Ministry had hinted that the released victims would be in the ministry but after hours of waiting, the minister explained the reason for their absence.
According to him, it was difficult to get them together after reuniting with their families on Thursday.
Speaking on the purported payment of ransom, he said: “It is not appropriate to reveal exactly what measures have been taken to secure the release of hostages of this nature.
Now, there are two things I want you to bear in mind. Through this incident, it is the position of this government that under no circumstances should there be collateral damage.
“We all know what collateral damage is. In other words, the military and security agencies that have been charged with the responsibility of securing the release of these hostages should not act in a way that will endanger the lives of the same hostages.
“In other words, make sure that no hostage life is lost in the process of securing their release.
There is a committee made up of some retired generals and some retired public officers of high ranking and status who assisted the military and the security agencies throughout the process of securing the release of these hostages.
“Number three, I want to state categorically that because this government does not support and approve ransom payment, no kobo was paid in exchange for the release of these 23 hostages and other ones as well.”
On resumption of the train service, he said: “I have told the press that rather than lose the life of a single Nigerian, we will rather stop the rail service.
We could not resume with a clear conscience knowing the kind of trauma that both the victims and their loved ones were going through, we felt that it was not appropriate to resume rail services.
“Now, I can tell you, we are going to resume very soon. Now, to resume rail services, we have to put in place measures that will ensure that going forward such an incident never happens in this country.
“And so we have a short-term and a long-term plan. I’m going to address the press specifically on this hopefully next week, mindful of the fact that when it comes to security matters, there are certain categories are people who do not mean well for other people to know exactly what you are doing.
On why the released victims were absent, he said: “The intention was for them to be here today. They were treated and looked after and made sure that everybody’s health was in good condition.
” They were also given replacement clothing. Because Mr. President happened to be in Kaduna yesterday for the passing out parade. The Nigerian Defence Academy provided an opportunity for him to meet with the 23 that were released and after meeting them, they were reunited with their families.