The Coalition of Civil Society organisations in Kaduna has called on the Federal Government to suspend the Abuja-Kaduna train service for not less than seven days to force all commuters, irrespective of status, to travel by road.
The coalition said the action would further boost security along the route.
The Convener of the group, Mr Yusuf Amoke, made the call at a news conference on Friday in Kaduna.
Amoke threatened that: “Failure to shut down the train service as advised would force us to do the needful.
“We believe that when all of the top officials use the road, their personal security and convoys would add to the security of the road.”
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The organisation also called on the Federal Government to relief the service chiefs of their appointment following the expiration of their service periods and to change security strategies.
The group however noted that the security chiefs have contributed immeasurably to the security of the country over the years, but have exhausted their ideas and strategies hence the need to appoint new service chiefs to take up the challenge.
They also advised the government to adopt policies that would cushion the socio-economic hardships of Nigerians and address the security challenges facing the country.
According to him, criminals had graduated from not only blocking highways but to trailing people to their homes and kidnapping them.
“The most frightening of the situation is the non-selective style of operations they have adopted in taking in victims.
“They block the roads randomly and massively move people into the bush and demand ransom from their family members irrespective of their financial status.
“Most of those who could not meet their demands are killed and set as example to frighten others to comply,’’ Amoke said.
According to him, this has consistently happened along the Kaduna-Abuja highway with a periodic situational intervention of the security that has turned out to be reactive instead of proactive measures that could ensure total eradication of the menace.
“This ugly situation has led to the massive exodus of people from using the road which is termed dangerous to using the train service, even though it is relatively more expensive,’’ he said.
He said the train service which was initiated to serve the general public (masses) has quickly been turned to an “elites ride” due to its level of security.
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“Leaving the poor masses without option but to use the road which is classified as one of the most dangerous roads in Nigeria.”
The convener stressed that: “It is heart breaking and a thing of serious concern to see top ranking security personnel up to the rank of General in the Nigerian Army and its equivalent.
“Who are in the best position to fix the insecurity on the roads, have resulted to using the train service fearing to be victims of attacks on the road.
“The worst of all, is that tickets for the train now goes to the highest bidder. Top Government officials like Ministers, Senators and head of agencies and parastatals have also left the road for the train services.
“The big question is for how long will this continue?’’ he asked. (NAN)