Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria, has hinted about plans for the concession of train operations in the country as a way to speed up and sustain ongoing development of rail transport system.
He stated this just as he said the corporation would continue to run the system in ways that would make the repayment of loans taken easy.
Okhiria spoke on Wednesday when he appeared at a town hall meeting organised by Raypower FM under the theme: “Interrogating the Essence of Chinese loans in Nigeria”.
Recently, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said the Federal Government had taken $2.5bn loan to complete the new 156km Lagos-Ibadan railway built by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.
Okhiria said at the Raypower forum that the corporation was considering concession and efficiently moving rail at an affordable price to quickly turn out the repayment.
“We are not ruling out even concession of the railways,” he said.
The NRC MD however did not give details on when and how the concession would be achieved.
A concession agreement, according to Investopedia, is a contract that gives a company the right to operate a specific business within a government’s jurisdiction or on another firm’s property, subject to particular terms. “Concession agreements often involve contracts between the nongovernmental owner of a facility and a concession owner, or concessionaire. The agreement grants the concessionaire exclusive rights to operate their business in the facility for a stated time and under specified conditions,” the authority adds.
A project consultant and partner at ALG, Joan Miquel Vilardell, contributing to an AfDB Transport Forum discussion, had said that the private sector participation had been positive in several railways worldwide, usually under concession.
But he noted that the initial concession model used in Africa and Latin America had not led to enough investment, especially in infrastructure.
As Abuja-Kaduna train resumes, NRC gives passengers Nov 6 for unused tickets
Train operations on the Abuja-Kaduna route resumed on Saturday, after they were suspended on Thursday following an attack that damaged the rail track.
The Nigerian Railway Corporation has given passengers with unused tickets two weekends ending on November to make use of the tickets or forfeit them.
Two reported attacks on Wednesday night and Thursday morning said to have been executed with the use of explosives led to damage on the rail track.
In one of the attacks, the window of the driver compartment of the train was reportedly shattered. This prompted the corporation to suspend the train ride along the route.
But the NRC restored the train services on Saturday after carrying out adequate repairs on the damaged track and beefing up security along the route.
On Saturday when train services resumed along the route, there was a report of low turnout of passengers.
Some of the passengers, who acknowledged improved armed security presence on the train and along the track said they could not use their pre-purchased tickets as the railway officials claimed they had no order to accept them.
A statement issued by the NRC later said customers would have two weeks (ending November 06) to use tickets for rides scheduled during the period operations were cancelled.
The corporation also asked affected customers to give 48-hour notice before their scheduled trips with the unused tickets.
The statement read in part, “Dear esteemed customers, service has been restored on the Abuja-Kaduna service.
“Customers with unused tickets for the 21st and 22nd of October should kindly contact the customer care unit (email@example.com and 01 888 7741) for rescheduling.
“Kindly give 48-hour notice ahead of new travel date. This offer is open for the next 2 weeks and will expire on the 6th of November, 2021. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience.”
Abuja-Kaduna train resumes operation Saturday – NRC
Barely 24 hours after suspending the Abuja-Kaduna trains for safety reasons, the Nigerian Railway Corporation says the services will resume Saturday October 23.
The suspension followed an explosion attack by hoodlums on the Abuja-Kaduna rail track Wednesday evening, which the corporation said affected the locomotive tank of a Kaduna-bound train.
Although there have been conflicting accounts of the attack with some attributing it to bandit or terrorist attack, the Managing Director of the corporation said in an interview on Friday night that the NRC team of engineers and technicians had fixed the problem and was certified that the train service could resume on the route after carrying out extensive an inspection of the line.
The NRC also said in a statement issued Friday evening that the Abuja-Kaduna Train Services (AKTS) would “resume tomorrow, Saturday, 23rd October, 2021 as follows: From IDU, Abuja (AK3) at 0950am. From Rigasa, Kaduna (KA4) at 10.35am.”
The statement read in part, “The board and management of the Nigerian railway corporation (NRC) hereby inform the general public, particularly our valued passengers that Abuja-Kaduna Train Services (AKTS) resume tomorrow, Saturday, 23rd October, 2021 as follows: From IDU, Abuja (AK3) at 0950am. From Rigasa, Kaduna (KA4) at 10.35am. Subsequent train services continue.
“The NRC once again sincerely apologises for the inconvenience.”
Just in: Nigerian railway suspends Abuja-Kaduna train services over safety
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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