September 26, 2022

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Kaduna Train Attack: Fate of 2-year Old Baby, Pregnant Women, Others Worry Victims’ Families

* Insurgency: Japanese Ambassador explains why his country can’t supply military equipment to Nigeria

Families of the victims of Kaduna train attack which occurred on March 28, 2022, yesterday expressed grave concerns over the fate of a 2-year old baby, pregnant women, the aged parents as well as others with critical health conditions who have been held captive by terrorists for over two months.

This is just as the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Kazuyoshi Matsunaga has said his country could not supply military equipment to Nigeria due to, “the limitation of the military regulation.

The families of the Kaduna-bound train abducted passengers expressed the concerns at a meeting held with the member representing Ede North/Ede South/Egbedore/Ejigbo of Osun State in the House of Representatives, Hon. Bamidele Salam.

Speaking through their Chairman, Mr. Aliyu Mahmood, the aggrieved family members frowned at the lackadaisical attitude of federal government towards ensuring timely release of the 62 kidnapped victims.

While calling for the involvement of representatives of the victims’ families in the ongoing negotiation with the bandits, they tasked President Muhammadu Buhari and relevant authorities on the need to redouble efforts toward reuniting the abductees to their immediate families.
They said: “We are tired of being in the press and we really are not impressed with how the government has handled the matter. We appreciate their efforts but we need to see things move rapidly.

“These people have been in captivity for 65 days. They are out in the open. This is rainy season. They don’t have shelter; they don’t have all the necessary things human needs to feel secure and we have a toddler that is two years old.
‘You can only imagine what they are going through. I am sure the environment is really hostile. You have people with guns; you have people that are so sick and don’t have medications. We are talking about 65 days of zero movement as far as we are concerned. We are still pleading with the government and if the government feels they can actually open doors of discussion for us to talk to the bandits, we look forward to that.

“That is, in fact, what we want because, may be, we can convince them and they will do the needful and release all these people that in captivity. So, please, try and be proactive. Let this thing be finished as soon as possible. I am short of words and I can’t think straight as I am talking to you now. This is the best I can say.”

Responding, Bamidele assured them of his resolve to interface with the leadership of the House with a view to fast-track the release of the 62 victims.

“You will recall that yesterday I had a walk to call on President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the leadership of this country as a whole to rise up and do more to secure freedom for men and women who have been in the captivity of bandits for this length of time.

Like I did say yesterday, the walk was actually triggered by the video of some of these abductees that I watched two day ago. After the walk, I had quite a number of information and contact of certain persons who are directly connected with this incident and it is this contact that led to the meeting we held this afternoon.

“Having met with them from close to an hour now, I and listening to their story, I think the first point is to on behalf of the leadership of this country apologise to them for the lack of enough empathy because from my interactions with them, I discovered that they have actually taken steps to write letter to persons in government.

I am going to be engaging the leadership of the national assembly to take on this matter in a more pragmatic and proactive manner so that we can bring this to an end as quickly as possible,” the lawmaker said

Meanwhile, the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria has said the Japanese government could not supply any military equipment to Nigeria due to “the limitation of the military regulation.”

Matsunaga disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, when he paid a courtesy visit to the Managing Director of North East Development Commission (NEDC), Mr. Mohammed Alkali.

He, however, assured that the Japanese government would continue to support the activity of the commission based on master plan, and also sought for improved bilateral relations between both countries.

Matsunaga also revealed most Japanese companies were hesitant to invest in Nigeria because of insecurity.

His words: “In Japan, the Japanese media already read the news about Nigeria, not only the football, but also the Boko Haram or the terrorism in the north-east. But many Japanese people misunderstand that there are many extremists in north-east, but the reality is not true
“The main reason is how we can get out of the poverty, how we can develop the economy. That is the most important part. They have called the Japanese government for support. Due to the limitation of the military regulation we cannot supply any military equipment.

“The security is also another important area because currently major Japanese companies have been hesitant to invest in Nigeria due to the security reasons. So as you may know that Japan is very conservative country, so we tend to avoid risk.”

Matsunaga noted that the Japanese government would continue to support Nigeria through humanitarian aid, but added that there was a need to have more coordination among different entities, as well as the state and federal government.

He also revealed that the Japanese government was working with UNICEF to install more than 50,000 toilet in Nigeria to help prevent open defecation.

Responding, Alkali said the commission was the focal organisation responsible for assessing, coordinating and harmonising all the initiatives of development.

He said it was crucial for the Japanese government to continue to support the commission’s activities based on the NEDC roadmap of the master plan.

Alkali said the Embassy had been supporting recovery and reconstruction of north-eastern states by disbursing supplemental budget to United Nations agencies such as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for capacity development of government officials and communities, building infrastructure and provision of equipment

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