One hundred and forty-eight (148) passengers and 38 crew members of a train plying the Warri-Itakpe route escaped death on Sunday when the train derailed inside the Kogi forest, forcing them (passengers) to be stranded.
Many passengers reportedly abandoned the train for fear of being kidnapped.
It was gathered that the train left Warri early Sunday and got derailed at around noon inside the forest between Ajaokuta and Itakpe.
The Delta and Kogi State police commands could not immediately confirm the incident, but the Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, confirmed it.
Okhiria said the stranded passengers had been evacuated.
The NRC boss said, “The train derailed and we were able to move the passengers out of the place. We will announce when to commence operation again. Yes, we have evacuated the passengers.”
Meanwhile, the NRC has suspended service on the route.
The Coordinator of Warri Itakpe Train Service, Sanni Abdulganiyu, disclosed that the Warri Itakpe Train WITS 01 derailed at Km 30 Ajaokuta-Itakpe section of the track at about 12:30 pm on Sunday, adding that no casualty was recorded.
The message further stated that the cause of the derailment was yet to be ascertained, noting that all 148 passengers and 30 crew members were evacuated successfully.
The message reads, ”Thankfully, there was no fatality and no casualty. We were immediately alerted and security personnel comprising the Army, Police, NSCDC, and the community vigilante were immediately drafted to the accident point with the assistance of the local government chairman.
“All the 148 passengers and 30 crew members were evacuated to a safe place and arrangements were made to convey 148 passengers to their various destinations and they have been successfully conveyed.
“The cause of the derailment is not yet determined. Due to this incident, the service along the corridor has been suspended. Further details would be communicated to members of the public.