Train derails in Minna, travelers lament



Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, transport minister (file photo)

By Mohammed Usman

Thousands of travelers are stranded at Minna, the Niger State capital, as they could not continue their journey due to a breakdown of a cargo train at the Minna terminal of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).

The Kano-bound cargo train, took off from Lagos and derailed at Minna, obstructing free-flow of traffic for the past seven days.

The most affected were the passengers returning from Christmas and New Year festivities, who had been traped at the scene of the incident.

Some of them wondered why it would take government officials a very long time to pull the train out of the rail and allow others to move.

When Nigeria News Flight visited the place, many of the stranded passengers were looking frail, while lamenting their plight.

Many of them said that they could not reachout to their ralations to narrate their plight because their mobile phone batteries were down.

They lamented government’s lack of commitment to the services of its subjects.

One of the passengers, Idowu, said that for the past two days he left his family he had been unable to get across to them, describing the derailed cargo train as a bad commentary for the federal government.

“It is very unfortunate that the government is not doing enough to secure the rail lines. We were told that the cargo train took off from Lagos for about a week now. Why have they not removed it? Why are they punishing the passengers?

Idowu also said that the NRC technicians were using ‘jack’ instead of crane to evacuate the cargo train, which he said, was not only risky to the technicians due to its heaviness but passengers.

For Hajiya Farida, another passenger, cladding her baby haven left Lagos on transit for almost three days, arriving her final destination or for how longer the journey to Kano would take is very uncertain because of the blocked Lagos- Kano route at the Minna terminal.

Farida advised the federal government to urgently ensure that all rail lines/tracks were in good shape to avoid exposing not only the passengers to danger but guarantee effective movement of goods and services to parts of the country.

Our correspondent, who visited the scene, however, reports that some technicians were seen trying to evacuate the Kano-bound cargo train from the Minna terminal to pave the way for free movement of trains conveying passengers, including civil servants to destinations.

Efforts to get reactions from the management of the NRC at the Minna terminal proved abortive as none of the officials were on hand when our correspondent visited.

Also none of the technicians at the scene of the accident battling to remove the cargo train agreed to speak on what caused the obstruction. According to one of them, “We are here to remove the cargo train for free flow of traffic, we are not here to talk to journalists”.


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