Blood on Buhari, Amaechi’s hands
Prior to the July 11, 2007 coordinated bombing of commuter trains in India’s largest city, Mumbai, Indians, like Nigerians, were wrapped in the shawls of their innocence and naivety. That day, the terrorists violently ripped off the terror purity shawls from India’s face. Within minutes, several explosive devices detonated in near-simultaneity. The devices instantly killed at least 183 people, and hundreds more suffered varying degrees of injury. In a replay of this Mumbai attack in Nigeria last week, at least seven passengers were killed after gunmen attacked a busy train serving Nigeria’s capital Abuja and Kaduna. The terrorists reportedly mined the track, apparently with booby-trapped explosives, and then forced the 970-passenger train to a halt. They then circled around the train cars, opened fire on the helpless passengers and removed an unknown number of passengers from the train.
Terrorists’ eyes were first opened to trains as a weapon of mass crime when, on September 13, 1931, a suicide bomber, Szilveszter Matuska, derailed the Vienna Express train by planting a bomb that killed 22 people and injured 120 others. Since then, terrorists have targeted the entire railway service infrastructure, such as ticket halls, railway bridges, trains, passenger stations, train depots, signaling and tracks.
Like a water-dripping sore that naturally attracts a hive of flies, commuter trains were never the same after the Matuska attack in 1931. They have been a delicacy with which terrorists relish sumptuous à la carte meals made up of the flowing blood and mutilated flesh of their victims. Indeed, the rail attacks are accompanied by a high number of deaths, massive disruptions, enormous national alarm, paralysis of the transport network and the national physiological and psychological trauma that goes with it. It’s not about talking about the long-term economic loss and dislocation that people face afterwards.
When asked why he caused his victims so much pain, Matuska had told his interrogators that he derived sexual pleasure from watching trains crash. Since then, global train robbery statistics have risen unreasonably like Nigeria’s national debt. Eight years later, on August 28, 1939, during the German Nazi invasion of Poland during World War II, a German agent, Antoni Guzy, also placed a suitcase bomb in a busy train station that killed 20 people. and injured 35. According to Jane’s Center of Terrorism and Insurgency database, between the period of 1998 and July 2006, at least 74 separate terrorist attacks were carried out against heavy rail, subways and trains around the world, as well as against trains and other railway infrastructure.
Since that attack last week, Nigerians have been shrouded in sadness. Victim-focused newspaper articles made matters worse, evoking people’s sadness and tears. Sijuade Oyetoso, president of the TUC, says he was shot in the head inside the train, as well as Dr Chinelo Megafu, the young doctor of medicine who graduated from the University of Port Harcourt, talks about tears. Just days before this attack, heavily armed terrorists attacked Kaduna airport, and as they completed the operation, a security guard was shot dead. This resulted in flight cancellations.
Just yesterday, a news report said as many as 1,545 people had been killed by terrorists in the first quarter of 2022. Citing a joint report by the Community of Practice Against Mass Atrocities and the Committee on joint action by civil society, under the aegis of Nigeria Deplores, the report also states that at least 1,321 people were abducted by these terrorists between January 1 and March 30, 2022, the northwestern states of the Nigeria from Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi and North Central Niger State, coming under intense bombardment by these corpse-loving terrorists. As kidnappings for ransom have become commonplace across Nigeria, this same Abuja-Kaduna highway has gained notoriety as one of Nigeria’s most dangerous roads. The kidnappers thread around him like ants make a ring around a diabetic’s pee, ambushing vehicles in several places on the freeway corridors, killing many people and setting himself up as lord of the mansion on the road .
With the above unflattering statistics, it will appear that, still shocked by the attacks of the terrorists, Nigerians, like the proverbial ostrich, are in the first stage of a psychological state of denial of the reality that their country is a terrorist corridor. In the architecture of terrorism, mass rail transport is one of the most vulnerable weapons of terrorists and terrorist attacks. The question to be asked then is whether Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi, National Security Advisor Babagana Monguno, their Commander-in-Chief Muhammadu Buhari and the coterie of so-called securocrats surrounding the seat of power, were so naive about the fun terrorists get from attacking trains that they didn’t know this basic fact?
Whether through ignorance, the habitual nonchalant attitude of Nigerian leaders or their often quest to always put the financial interest before the welfare of the people, when the train attack is reduced to its artifices, it will be difficult to not to blame the deaths of these innocent Nigerians on a deliberate waste of the lives of citizens which is the familiar way of its rulers. The logic is that, since it is no longer news that Nigeria has become a notorious terrorist corridor, how to explain why the government had to pick its teeth as rail commuters used the notorious Abuja-Kaduna route, or any other railway road in Nigeria without adequate security? Apart from the fact that Kaduna State has become one of the most dangerous places to live in Nigeria, it is common knowledge that the Abuja-Kaduna highway is one of the most dangerous roads in Nigeria. It’s full of a hive of kidnappers who have been known to ambush vehicles at several locations on the highway.
With the subsequent leak of a memo that was allegedly presented by Amaechi to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) but was rightly rejected, it becomes a necessary conclusion to say that this waste of people’s lives in this attack train had to be due to one or all of three likely reasons: Sabotage by those hungry to prove a point; the government’s deliberately naïve trivialization of the destructive powers of terrorists; and third, the cruelty of the government’s act of putting the cart before the horse. By privileging the publicity stunts inherent in haste first of all to consolidate the public credibility of a government weakened by the launch of the “revolution” of the train in 2006, rather than setting up a simultaneous installation of security gadgets for the protecting and safeguarding people’s lives, the Nigerian government can logically be said to have the blood of the people flowing from its hands.
Amaechi reportedly presented the vapid memo to the FEC chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on September 24, 2021. In it, he sought FEC approval of N3.7 billion for a contract on the monitoring systems along the Abuja-Kaduna. rail. In presenting the proposal, Amaechi, Governor of Rivers State for two terms and Minister for 7 years, had recommended a company, Mogjan Nigeria Limited, with a very clear inability and no history of previous handling of such a contract, as his preference. The company, incorporated on August 6, 2019, less than two years ago and with a turnover of N84.9 million, was the best in Amaechi for carrying out such a huge job. To make matters worse, this leaked memo would have revealed so many other incongruities that, had it been in a saner climate, Amaechi should have been fired for gross misconduct and laxity. During the attack, however, while answering questions from reporters, Amaechi claimed he had predicted the impending attack and, ostensibly jubilantly, condemned the dismissal of his memo presented to the FEC. .
A few questions arise from this atilogwu danse macabre that Amaechi and the federal government are doing at the graves of the Nigerian dead. The “revolution” in rail services was commissioned in July 2016 by President Buhari and this same Abuja-Kaduna train was the anchor. This was at a time when the bayonets of terrorists were penetrating into nooks and crannies of Nigeria. If Minister Amaechi then presented a note for the purchase of security gadgets on this corridor in 2021, five years after the start of rail services, it would mean one of three things: that Amaechi was completely naive the destructive powers of terrorists; that he was either unapologetically simplistic about it or grossly ineffective about the need for an ancillary need to secure railway systems when it was put into operation. Or did he just not care? Presenting such an empty and embarrassing doggeral as a memo to Nigeria’s highest decision-making body seems to indicate that such a regime of laxity, slackness and, dare I say it, tampering must have mark previous presentations to the FEC that their sponsors got away with it and who encouraged him to present an equally meaningless memo. The memo may simply point to a pedigree of maggot infestations in procurement and contracting at the highest level of governance in Nigeria.
It will appear that the Nigerian government and its so-called security crats are only good at sucking up security budgets. For a Nigerian military that has taken to the field across the world, reaping laurels and badges of honor for its performance, the only explanation for this feigned counterinsurgency incapacity by the Nigerian military must be the gross sense of national theft that infiltrated the Nigerian security high command.
In Nigeria, however, knowing the old predilection of our rulers to be lax and greedy, train attacks like the one last week are likely to intensify. Terrorists are much more dedicated to their craft than those who are paid to monitor the people. Security experts know that bombers don’t just strike without performing reconnaissance and surveying of targets. During the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train, some of the terrorists were believed to have been on board. Did our security know?
With the easy target of bombings and train attacks in terrorist corridors around the world, of which Nigeria is the leader, it will be blatant criminal laxity or an inexplicable compromise for the Buhari government not to have anticipated the attack. Abuja-Kaduna train. Even seeking to install this security equipment in 2021 showed that Amaechi was aware of the threat posed by terrorists. So what happened between then and now? Did he cross his arms? Those who claim there is an alliance between senior government officials and terrorists may have had an element of corroboration in this train attack. One thing that is beyond doubt is that the blood of the murdered is crying out for vengeance to the Buhari government.