Federal Government secured the release of the last batch of hostages kidnapped by terrorists during the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna Train on March 28, 2022, without paying a Kobo, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’Azi Sambo has said.
The Minister who disclosed this at a press briefing organised to provide updates and meet with the victims at the Ministry expressed joy that after six months in captivity the hostages were free at last.
He, however, insisted that nothing was paid to the bandits to release the kidnapped victims,
“Because this government does not support and approve ransom payment, no Kobo was paid in exchange for the release of these 23 hostages and even for the release of the other hostages,” he said.
Mu’azu said a committee of retired Generals assisted in securing the release of the victims, adding that as soon as the release of hostages was secured, they were taken to a Military hospital in Kaduna where adequate healthcare was provided for them.
“I want you to know is that there is a committee made up of some retired generals and some retired public officers of high-ranking status who assisted the military and the security agencies throughout the process of securing the release of these hostages,” he said.
According to Minister, the victims were reunited with their families yesterday shortly after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, who visited them at the hospital.
The Minister said with the release of the victims Abuja-Kaduna rail services will soon resume operations, adding that the Federal Government is currently putting more security measures in place to ensure the safety of passengers and also ward off such ugly occurrences in the future.
He said the government had developed a short and term plan for the operations of rail services going forward to ensure that no ugly incident such as a terrorist attack can occur in the future.
The Minister said that members of the public would be informed in due time when the train services would resume, stressing that in about three months, the government would have been able to fortify and certify the rail corridors and ensure the safety of passengers.
“It is not appropriate to reveal exactly what measures have been taken in order to secure the release of hostages of this nature. Now, there are two things I want you to bear in mind. All through these incidents, it is the position of this government that under no circumstances should there be collateral damage.
“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 lost in the process of securing them.”
Speaking on the rehabilitation of the released victims, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, disclosed rehabilitation is part of the process of securing the release of the patients.
According to her, doctors have reviewed them and they are already being attended to medically.
“We know that this is a form of trauma. The plans of post-traumatic treatment for the patients and their family members is already on, as lots of these 23 released are residents in Kaduna.”