Indications have emerged that the federal government may have begun talks with the terrorists who attacked a Kaduna-bound passenger train late last month, killing some of the passengers and abducting no fewer than 70 others.
Relations of the kidnapped passengers told reporters in Kaduna of Friday that following the pressure they were exerting on the federal government, it had gone into talks with the terrorists on how to release those in captivity.
Spokesman for the victims’ relatives, Dr. Abdulfatai Jimoh, said that sequel to the 72-hour ultimatum they gave the federal government to act on the fate of the abducted people, “we are happy that the government has started discussing with the abductors of our relatives.”
He pleaded with the authorities to speed up the negotiation so that the victims might be released as soon as possible.
Jimoh also warned the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) against the proposed resumption of train services without first rescuing the kidnapped victims.
“It is true that we gave the Federal Government a 72-hour ultimatum which expired yesterday (Thursday) midnight,” he said.
“We are grateful to God that before the expiration of the 72 hours, we heard from the Federal Government after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday through the Minister of Information that the government is already on top of the situation with what has happened.
“We acknowledge it and we appreciate it. But what we want to add is that the government should speed up the process of discussion with them (bandits) so that they can release our people soonest. This is our appeal now.”
On reports that the NRC was in the process of resuming the Abuja-Kaduna service, Jimoh said the organisation should not be talking about that now “when our people are in captivity, because what is the assurance that if they resume now people that will be boarding the train are safe?
“What measure(s) have they put in place to guarantee the security of those that are going to patronise their services? We don’t want a reoccurrence of this.
“The first thing should be to get the captives out and then they can put adequate measures in place and resume services so that this does not happen again in future.
“We want to believe that they won’t try it, and if they do, we won’t take it lightly with them because human lives are involved.
“We believe they won’t because they know what’s at stake.”