ABUJA—PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari disclosed, yesterday, that his decision to stop total use of military force against terrorists to save the remaining victims of the Kaduna train attack was to prevent collateral damage.
The president said this when he met in Abuja with representatives of victims of the train abduction, promising them that the Federal Government was doing it’s best to ensure the safe return of the remaining victims.
Condoling with families of the victims and those who lost their loved ones, Buhari stated that since the “terrible and cowardly attack by the criminal elements” on March 28, 2022, the nation had joined them to endure a period of difficulty and emotional pains.
He informed representatives of the families that immediately after the incident, several actions had been taken by the government to bring relief to the affected families and prevent a recurrence in the country.
He also said his reason for dismissing the use of lethal military force in rescuing the remaining abductees.
The president in a communique by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said: “I have been informed that at last count, there remained about 31 people in the hands of the kidnappers and our determination is to work towards returning these 31 people to their families.
“It is understandable that emotions typically run high, we have received several suggestions about the deployment of lethal military force in extracting those still being held in captivity. This option has, indeed, been considered and evaluated.
“However, the condition to guarantee a successful outcome and minimize potential collateral damage could not be assured and, therefore, that course of action had to be reluctantly discarded. My primary concern is to get everyone released safely and unhurt.”
On his recent instruction to security and law enforcement agencies to put an end to inhumane action against innocent Nigerians, the president said: “Judging by the available reports to me and news that have begun emerging in the last few days, I wish to say they have heard this instruction and are responding appropriately.
“In the past couple of days, you must have heard about the number of terrorists neutralized by the military, and number of hostages freed. These efforts will not stop or reduce.
“We must take the fight to the terrorists and demonstrate that there is no hiding place for them within the borders of our country. Each one of them will be hunted and pursued and spoken to in the language they understand.”
ALSO, President Buhari complimented the bravery and gallant actions taken by members of the Police Force who were also in the train on that fateful day.
According to him, “it is clear that their actions saved many lives and by making the ultimate sacrifice, they must be recognized for their bravery.”
Buhari also added that he had never lose faith in the ability or confidence of those who have presented themselves to safeguard the country, adding that the Kaduna train incident had reinforced the belief and faith of the nation in this special group of Nigerians.
“I also would like to use this opportunity to say that we are cognizant of events that have unsettled our citizens in various parts of our nation and in the capital.
“I would like to comfort those who were traumatized by these tragic events and pledge that our response is to protect all Nigerians wherever they are.”
In his remarks, Minister of Transportation, Jaji Sambo, disclosed that in the first week of his resumption in the ministry, he met with the families of the victims of the Kaduna train attack, explaining to them all efforts the government was making to ensure safe return of their loved ones.
He depicted the audience with the president as a manifestation of the efforts by this administration to safeguard the release of all victims and proof that “government is not resting on its oars.”