President Muhammadu Buhari explained yesterday why his administration decided not to use maximum force to free the victims of the Kaduna-bound train kidnapped by terrorists about five months ago, saying the military abandoned use of lethal force so that innocent souls would not be killed.
He did, however, promise that the remaining 31 victims in the terrorists’ custody would be rescued and returned to their families soon.
The president stated at the State House in Abuja, while meeting with representatives of victims of the Kaduna train abduction, that in the immediate aftermath of the incident, several actions were taken by government to provide assistance to affected families and prevent a recurrence in the country.
He also explained why he opposed using lethal military force to free the remaining abductees.
“It is understandable that emotions typically run high,” he says, adding that “we have received several suggestions about the deployment of lethal military force in extracting those still held in captivity.”
“This option has been considered and assessed. However, the condition of ensuring a successful outcome while minimizing potential collateral damage could not be guaranteed, so that course of action had to be reluctantly abandoned.”
Buhari assured the victims’ representatives that the federal government was doing everything possible to ensure the safe return of the remaining captives.
While expressing condolences to the victims’ families and those who lost loved ones, the president stated that since the “terrible and cowardly attack by criminal elements on March 28, 2022,” the nation had joined them in enduring a period of difficulty and emotional pains.
“I have been informed that, at the last count, there are approximately 31 people still in the hands of the kidnappers, and our determination is to work towards returning these 31 people to their families,” he said.
“My primary concern is that everyone is released safely and without injury.”
In response to his recent directive to security and law enforcement agencies to end inhumane treatment of innocent Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed delight, saying, “judging by the available reports to me and news that has begun to emerge in the last few days, I will say they have heard this instruction and are responding appropriately.”
You’ve probably heard about the number of terrorists killed by the military and the number of hostages released in the last few days. These efforts will not be curtailed or reduced.
“We must take the fight to the terrorists and show that there is no safe haven for them within our borders.” “Each of them will be hunted, pursued, and spoken to in the language that they understand.”
Buhari also used the occasion to praise the bravery and gallant actions of members of the Nigerian Police Force who were onboard the train on that fateful day.
“It is clear that their actions saved many lives, and they must be recognized for their bravery by making the ultimate sacrifice,” he says.
Buhari also stated that he has never questioned the ability or confidence of those who have volunteered to defend the country, and that the Kaduna train incident has strengthened the nation’s belief and faith in this special group of Nigerians.
“I’d also like to take this opportunity to say that we are aware of events that have alarmed our citizens in various parts of our country and in the capital.” I’d like to console those who have been traumatized by these tragic events and assure them that we will protect all Nigerians wherever they are.
“My dear countrymen and women, we thank God that none of the released prisoners died as a result of the severe trauma they endured at the hands of the terrorists, demonstrating that the government’s efforts to secure their release were not in vain, as the government continues to do its best to secure the release of the remaining abductees and ensure the overall security of all citizens in the country.”
Earlier, the Minister of Transportation, Jaji Sambo, stated that in the first week of his return to the ministry, he met with the relatives of the Kaduna train attack victims, informing them of all the efforts the government is making to ensure the safe return of their loved ones.
He described the meeting with the president as evidence of the administration’s efforts to secure the release of all captives, as well as proof that the government is not resting on its laurels.
Alhaji Sabiu Mohammed, a representative of the victims of the train abduction, appealed to the federal government to assist families in obtaining the release of their remaining loved ones still held captive.
“Please, we want to see our loved ones, and many have found themselves in very difficult situations,” he said. We don’t have the money that they (kidnappers) want. Please, Mr. President, we know you’re doing your best…but we need to see our loved ones.”