Hajia Selimat Suleiman was unfortunately crushed to death last Thursday morning along Abuja-Kaduna rail track at Chikakore axis in the Kubwa Area council of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja by train.
However, SaharaReporters gathered that the incident would have been avoided had the Federal Ministry of Transportation not ignored requests made by residents for the construction of an overhead bridge to serve Chikakore and its surrounding areas.
On March 29, 2016, before the new rail track was inaugurated, the Chikakore (Byazhin) Kuwba Layout Landlords Association wrote to the Federal Ministry of Transportation, requesting the construction of an overhead bridge on the rail track for the safety of over 5,000 residents of the area, but though the letter was received, the request was ignored.
The letter titled ‘Request For Overhead Bridge On Rail Crossing At Chikakore’, reads, “By way of introduction, we write to bring to your notice, the Chikakore Government Layout Landlord Association. The Association has been registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission with registration No. 61042.
“The Layout is one of the high-density populated areas along the new Abuja-Kaduna Rail track. The Layout has a population of over 5,000 residents comprising over 12 worship centres, seven educational institutions both nursery, primary and secondary schools, police station and a marketplace.
“The only access road for our members and residents of suburbs like Zhikwo, Pese, Ijah, etc. town and for our children to Byazhin Junior and Senior Secondary Schools, as well as the newly established Chikakore LA Primary School is through the rail track.
“In view of the above, the Association hereby formally write and request as a matter of urgency for your Ministry to authorise the contractor to provide an overhead bridge across the rail track for our usage.
“This request is premised on the nature of the train, which we believe will be one of the modern fast trains which will impose a lot of dangers and possible casualties to our children, and elderly while crossing the rail track.
“With civil work at the track nearing completion and possible commissioning, it is important to place on record that as a responsible government to its citizenry, the safety of our members and residents of other towns and villages who ply the road should be considered and factored into government plans for commissioning.”
Speaking with SaharaReporters, the former Secretary of the landlords’ association, Elder Emman Akpan, said the ministry received their letter.
“And we followed it up but we were later told that the file was missing. We don’t know what happened to our file,” he said.
Efforts to get more information from the former chairman of the association, Mr. Henry Egbe, failed as network coverage in his area was very poor.