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Buhari reappoints Okhiria as MD of Nigerian railway

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Fidet Okhiria

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reappointment of Fidet Edentalen Okhiria as managing director of the Nigeria Railway Coporation (NRC).

He was first appointed managing director of the corporation in October 2016 and has since then been piloting the affairs of the firm.

As NRC MD, Okhiria is overseeing the transformation of the railway. He initiated the engineering designs; moved new locomotives delivered at Apapa port to Zaria, Enugu and Abuja to keep the plan on course.

Under the current administration and supervision of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, the government has constructed new railways, replaced antiquated tracks and acquired new and up-to-date coaches and locomotives.

Okhiria, an engineer, from Iruekpen Ekpoma in Edo State, started his journey with the NRC as a pupil engineer and rose to the position of Director Mechanical/Electrical/Signal and Telecommunication.

He attended Ujeolen Primary School from 1967 to 1972 and Ujeolen Grammar School 1973 to 1977 both in Ekpoma, Edo state.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree (BSc Electrical Engineering) from University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos.

He did his National Youth Service (NYSC) programme at the then National Electrical Power Authority (NEPA) from 1985 to 1986.

From 1992 to 1996, he was District Mechanical/Electrical Engineer, and later Chief Mechanical Electrical Engineer from 1996 to 1999.

Okhiria became Assistant Director (C/W) between 1999 and 2001; Manager, Romania project from 2001 to 2003 and District Manager (LD) from 2003 to June 2006.

He became the Director, Mechanical/Electrical from June 200 to June 2011.

Okhiria is a fellow of Nigerian Institute of Mechanical Engineering, (NIME), chartered member, Institute of Logistics and Transport (MILT), member, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), member Institute of Directors (IOD), member Institute of Strategic Management (ISM) and member, Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM).

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Railway

Just in: Nigerian railway suspends Abuja-Kaduna train services over safety

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The Nigeria Railway Corporation has announced the suspension of train services on the Abuja-Kaduna route.

It said on Thursday that the decision was taken for safety purposes after a section of the rail track was vandalised on Wednesday night.

Some Kaduna-bound passengers were reportedly forced to return to Abuja following the damage to the track.

An ex-senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, had tweeted on Thursday that there was a bandit attack on an Abuja-Kaduna train he was travelling in and had a miraculous escape with other passengers.

But the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Mr Fidet Okhiria, said it was an attack by vandals on the rail track.

The corporation said in a statement on its website on Thursday that train services had been suspended on Abuja-Kaduna route for the safety of passengers and crew members.

It added that efforts were being put in place to ensure maximum safety along the route.

It also further information about the suspension would be conveyed to the public later.

Daily Trust reported that hundreds of passengers were stranded at Rigasa Railway Station in Kaduna on Thursday morning.

The report stated that most of the passengers that booked ‎their train tickets online later resorted to travelling by road.

An NRC official at the station told the passengers that there was a problem with the train and so there would be no train.

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Business

Haulage cost drops as NRC resumes cargo movement to Kano, Kaduna dry ports

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The Nigerian Railway Corporation has resumed the movement of cargoes in containers from Lagos to Kano and Kaduna dry ports, more than a year after it suspended the operations.

Managing Director of Inland Containers Nigeria Limited (ICNL), Ismail Yusuf, who stated stated this during an interview with journalists in Lagos, added that the cost of haulage had thus dropped by 50 per cent compared to what the road transporters charge.

In September 2020, the NRC suspended the movement of containers by rail from Apapa port for rehabilitation of the rail tracks.

Yusuf said about 40 containers had been moved so far, adding that 40 empty containers had been returned through the same mode to Lagos from the Kano and Kaduna inland dry ports.

Apart from cost reduction, he said the movement by rail would  save time and ensure the safety of the consignments being moved by rail.

According to him, it will now cost a half of what is presently being spent on road haulage to move containers by rail.

According to him, the ICNL is still in talks with the NRC to deploy additional coaches to the port operation because his company has cargoes on the ground to be moved.

“As you know that the Federal Government is encouraging the Nigerian Railway Corporation to ensure movement of cargo from the seaport to the hinterland and this is very critical to our Kano-bonded terminal and Kaduna Inland Dry Port, which is our subsidiary company,” Yusuf said.

He also said, “The management of ICNL and Kaduna Dry Port has led the management of the railway corporation to discuss the modalities of how they can come back to life. We thank God that our request has been acceded to and this is the outcome of our discussion.

“Presently, they have supplied us with two rails for the last two weeks. We have moved about 40 containers, and this will continue every fortnight until we attain maximum capacity.

“The number of containers being moved also depends on the availability of locomotives, and as long as we have enough cargos to load.

“We have started from somewhere: from one to two rails and from there we can increase it to four or five rails.

“We are talking with NRC on how we can increase the capacity to meet the yearnings of customers who want to use the services of the rail corporation. Time spent on the movement is a minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of 72 hours.”

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News

NRC to cut Abuja-Kaduna trips for maintenance work

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The Nigerian Railway Corporation announced on Sunday that it would reduce the number of trips on the Abuja-Kaduna route from Oct.19 – Oct.21.

Its Managing Director, Fidet Okhiria, said in a statement that the reduction in the number of trips was to effect scheduled maintenance.

He stated that rather than the daily 10 trips, there would be four trips only on Oct. 19 and on October 20.

He added that on Thursday, October 21, there would be eight trips.

“Full train services will resume on Friday, Oct. 22,’’ Okhiria assured.

The NRC management apologised for inconveniences the reduction in the number of trips might cause to passengers.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NRC introduced an additional Diesel Multiple Unit on the route recently which increased the number of train trips from eight to 10 per day.

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