The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has announced the closure of the train station in Edo State till further notice following the attack and abduction of train passengers waiting to board a train over the weekend.
NRC said on Sunday that the decision became necessary following rising security challenges in the area.
A public announcement by the NRC posted on the passengers’ WhatsApp group stated that the closure was “till further notice.”
Part of the statement reads: “Public Announcement: This is to inform our general public and most especially our esteemed passengers, that Ekehen Station has been temporarily closed due to security issues, till further notice.”
Another notice reads, “Due to the incident at Ekehen station on Saturday, WITS 01/ 02 will no longer stop at Ekehen Station. Please advise our customers.”
This is even as the director of press and public relations of the Ministry of Transportation, Henshaw Ogubike, said the Nigerian Police was on the trail of the criminals and have mobilised with a view to protecting the lives and property of the remaining passengers.
Meanwhile, there were reports on Sunday that more than 30 passengers and members of staff of the Nigerian Railway Corporation were taken hostage by the attackers, suspected to be armed herdsmen, who attacked the Igueben train sub-station in Edo State on Saturday evening at about 5pm.
The local government Liaison officer in the area, Mr Best Oseh, said on Sunday that over 30 passengers comprising passengers, NRC staff and indigenes of Igueben were taken away by the gunmen.
According to him, a combined team of security agencies was combing the forest in the bid to rescue those abducted.
He said: “As I speak, people are in the field all over the place, vigilantes, security agencies and other people, everybody is concerned but we have to be careful with what we divulge so that we won’t jeopardise the processes we are doing.
“As for the category of people kidnapped, some of them are from Igueben while others are passengers from other places and as for the number, for now, we are looking at over 30 but we can only give comprehensive number when preliminary investigations are concluded.”
The spokesperson for Edo State Police Command, Chidi Nwabuzor, confirmed the incident in a statement.
According to him, the abductors, armed with AK 47, invaded the train station and shot sporadically into the air before abducting scores of intending travellers into the bush.