The Nigeria Railway Corporation on Sunday, January 8th, announced the closure of Ekehen Station in Edo State till further notice.
The organisation made the decision following rising security challenges in the state.
The incident came barely one year after the March 28th, 2022 attack by bandits on the Abuja-Kaduna train, resulting in the death of about 14 passengers while 65 others were abducted.
A public announcement by the NRC posted on the passengers’ WhatsApp Group said the closure was “till further notice.”
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.”
It was reported that gunmen suspected to be herdsmen on Saturday,January 7th, evening abducted many passengers waiting to board a train from the Igueben station in Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State to Warri in Delta State, while many others sustained varying degrees of injuries.
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.
Nwabuzor said that many of the passengers sustained bullet wounds, assuring that operatives were on the trail of the abductors with an aim to rescue those the kidnap victims herded into the bush.
He said, “This is to inform the gentlemen of the press that on January 7, 2023, at about 1600hrs, an unspecified number of herdsmen armed with AK 47 rifles attacked the train station at Igueben, Edo State and kidnapped an unspecified number of passengers who were waiting to board the train to Warri.
“The kidnappers who shot sporadically into the air before kidnapping some passengers left some persons with bullet wounds. The Area Commander Irrua, DPO Igueben Division, and men have visited the scene of the crime with members of the Edo State Security Network, local vigilantes, and hunters with a view to protecting the lives and property of the remaining passengers.
“Bush combing operations have commenced in order to rescue the victims and arrest the fleeing kidnappers. Further developments will be communicated.”