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Breaking: Reprive as railway workers call off strike

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Nigerian railway workers have called off their warning strike less than 48 hours after embarking on a nationwide three-day industrial action.
The decision to end the strike was taken after the leaders of the Nigeria Railway Workers Union (NUR) and the Senior Staff Association had met in Abuja with the board of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Federal Ministry of Transportation and the NRC management.
This is contained in a communique issued on Friday jointly signed by Innocent Ajiji (for NUR), Aliyu Mainasara (SSA) and Dr Monsurat Omotayo (NRC management), a copy of which was obtained by Newstrends from the union.
Earlier, Managing Director of the NRC, Engr Fidet Okhiria, had appealed to the workers to return to work, saying their demands were receiving accelerated consideration.
Part of the resolutions is that a committee be immediately set up to review the workers’ condition of service.
It was also agreed that all train crew members should be given insurance cover along with the passengers and the goods in transit.
Okhiria said during a press conference in Lagos on Friday that the Federal Government through the National Salaries, Incomes & Wages Commission (NSIWC) had almost concluded the process of increasing the workers’ salaries.
He said, “The workers are on three-day warning strike. The management met with them several times, the board met with them and the Minister even met with them and we thought issues have been resolved, only to come back and say they are going on warning strike.
“As they are on strike, we are still discussing with them. We are working hard to make sure that they come back as soon possible. In communication, the way people understand it is different from others.
“So we are now talking to them to understand with us and understand with government and let them cut short the warning strike. Who is government? We are all government and it would not be proper, that now that the government is bringing us to limelight, we use our hands to disrupt what the government is doing.
We can see the attention railway is getting now. Six, four, five years back, that attention was not there. The attention is there because government is putting efforts to make sure railway is viable in Nigeria.
“Money is not everything. People and joy and what we provide for humanity override money. So we will work so that their welfare would be better off, for all Nigerians, not just railway workers.”
The workers had commenced the strike on Thursday, demanding an increase in salary and better welfare package. They also protested at Idu Station in Abuja on Thursday.
The NRC had earlier ordered the suspension of train services between Abuja and Kaduna, Lagos and Ibadan, and Warri due to the strike.

See the communique below

COMMUNIQUE OF RESOLUTIONS MADE AFTER THE MEETINGS WITH THE NRC BOARD IN ABUJA AND ANOTHER WITH THE FMOT, NRC MANAGEMENT, AND THE LEADERSHIP OF NUR & SSA IN IKEJA LAGOS ON FRIDAY, 19TH NOVEMBER 2021 OVER THE WORKERS’ AGITATION FOR ENHANCED SALARY REGIME; IMPROVED WELFARE, ET AL

The followings are the resolutions made between the above captioned parties:

i. a committee has been set up with immediate effect on the review of the standard condition of service with timeline lasting to the 31st day of January 2022;

ii. it has been agreed that the personal data on deceased workers be collected for processing for immediate payment as every worker is already covered by the group life assurance scheme;

iii. it has been agreed that all the train crews be given insurance cover as the train passengers and the goods in transit;

iv. enhanced salary regime has been taken up as a priority by the NRC Board and FMoT with a view to securing approval for implementation in the earliest time possible;

v. it has been agreed that no member of staff shall be victimized as a result of his/her participation in the 3-day industrial action of November 2021;

vi. by this communique and foregoing resolutions, the 3-day warning strike action is hereby suspended. Therefore, workers are hereby directed to resume work with immediate effect.

Signed
Comr. Aliyu Mainasara
PG, SSA

Signed
Comr. Innocent L. Ajiji
PG NUR

Signed
Dr. Mrs. Monsurat O. Omotayo
Director Admin/HR
For: NRC management

Railway

24 firms bid for Lagos-Ibadan, Warri-Itakpe railway e-ticketing

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A total of 24 firms have applied to manage electronic ticketing operations on two new standard gauge rail lines, Lagos-Ibadan and Warri-Itakpe routes.
Eleven of those firms are for the new Lagos-Ibadan rail line while the remaining 13 are bidding for the Warri-Itakpe line on a public private partnership arrangement.
Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation, Engr Fidet Okhiria, disclosed this on Monday during the opening of the bids.
Represented by Mr Niyi Alli, director of operations at the corporation, the NRC MD said four companies would be selected among the 24 firms that submitted proposals for the e-ticketing solutions, adding that two for each of the two rail lines.
He stressed that the corporation would continue to be transparent throughout the entire process.
The Director of Procurement in his address said the first part of the qualification was held Monday, opening of the bids.
“We are not evaluating today; we are just opening your submissions and ticking the papers you’ve submitted in accordance with our advert.
There will be other stages on authentication and evaluation.”
Mr Emmanuel Onwodi, director of transportation infrastructure at the ICRC said they were satisfied with the bidding process.
“We’ll choose one preferred bidder and one reserved bidder for each. Four will be chosen after the process,” he said.

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Lagos-Ibadan train: NRC set to unveil e-ticketing concessionaire, gets ICRC nod

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The Nigerian Railway Corporation in conjunction with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) is set to unveil a credible concessionaire that will manage the electronic ticketing solution for Lagos-Ibadan and Warri-Itakpe trains.

Ahead of the unveiling of bidders for the project on Monday November 22, the ICRC on Friday presented the Outline Business Case (OBC) certificate for the proposed e-ticketing solution for the train services to the NRC.

The OBC certificate otherwise known as the Certificate of Compliance implies that the planned Public Private Partnership (PPP) project for the e-ticketing solution is bankable and commercially viable.

Acting DG of the ICRC, Mike Ohiani, presented the certificate to the NRC Managing Director, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, at a ceremony held in Lagos.

The NRC had earlier through an advertisement invited prospective bidders for the design, build, operate and transfer of e-ticketing solution for the Lagos-Ibadan and Warri-Itakpe standard gauge services.

Okhiria said the introduction of e-ticketing earlier on the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service had improved revenue generation.

He said, “Sometimes ago, we introduced the e-ticketing on Abuja-Kaduna train service and the benefits of it have been an eye-opener. And apart from the benefits to the users, the NRC and the government are also reaping from the e-ticketing.

“I am proud to say that since the introduction of the e-ticketing, the revenue has gone up drastically either by encouraging users to use the train or if there were leakages, at least, they have been blocked somehow and the fear of ticket racketeering has also reduced by introducing the e-ticketing and its technology. It cannot be perfect in one day; we are also reviewing it on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis and trying to improve on what we are doing. That exercise covers Abuja-Kaduna train operation.

“Now that we have introduced new trains and we have introduced new routes, we believe we should do them separately so that we don’t put our eggs in one basket. As a result of that we approached the ICRC with a business case; it went through several reviews and we are happy today that they are officially presenting the Outline Business Case certificate that enables us to advertise the project of the secure ticketing solution.

“That would bring smiles to the people using Lagos-Ibadan and Itakpe-Warri train services because at the comfort of their homes, they can plan their programmes; buy their tickets and they don’t need to come to the stations to buy tickets and it will reduce the pressure on our staff in trying to control the crowd at a particular time.”

The Acting DG of ICRC stated that there was the need to shore up the revenue of the Federal Government to justify the infrastructural revolution of President Muhammadu Buhari whom he described as an Infrastructure President.

He said, “ICRC is the agency of the Federal Government set up to midwife and drive all PPP projects in the country. We provide regulatory oversight.

“As a result of that, the NRC approached us with this project, the e-ticketing in respect of Ibadan standard gauge services and Warri-Itakpe for the e-ticketing. We want to commend the efforts of the NRC for the good job they are doing, as well as the Ministry of Transportation.

“The essence of this project, the overall scope of both projects is for design, finance, build, operate and manage secure e-ticketing solution hardware and software for passenger station in Lagos-Ibadan standard train service and Warri-Itakpe.

“The e-ticketing solution will make travelling experience for passengers very easy. As the MD has rightly stated, in the comfort of your home, you would be able to obtain tickets. It will also provide security services, in the sense that before you buy the ticket, the passengers’ luggage would have been scanned. It will provide efficiency. You know we are living in a challenging situation in order to secure all the facilities, that is part of what the e-ticketing is designed to do.

“It will also increase revenue generation through reduction of fraud, fare evasion as well as increasing fare purchase option for teeming clients. Overall the solution is proposed for a secured seamless ticketing system on the routes earlier on stated.

“The Federal Government is expected to, through the NRC, generate N12.4bn in four years for Lagos-Ibadan and N9.6bn for Warri-Itakpe within the period under review. We are here this morning to present the certificate showing that the project is bankable.

“Then we will go into the next phase. As the MD has rightly stated, starting from Monday where we will secure a credible concessionaire that would manage the e-ticketing solution. That is the essence of our being here. We want to thank you people and we want to assure Nigerians that once this project is concluded, you get efficient services. There would be improvement and no time wasting for the passengers, this we can guarantee you.”

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FG awaits funds for Kaduna-Kano, PH-Maiduguri rail projects

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  • NASS challenges Amaechi on $1.3bn Kano-Maradi rail

Despite commencing construction on the $1.2bn Kaduna-Kano rail expected to link the running Abuja-Kaduna standard rail line, the Federal Government is yet to receive funds from the Chinese creditor for the project.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this while defending the ministry’s budget before the joint committee of the National Assembly in Abuja just as he said the survey and design of Ibadan-Kano standard gauge line had commenced in preparation for the construction of the line to link the already just completed Lagos-Ibadan rail.

But the minister had trouble convincing the federal legislators on the construction of a standard gauge rail line from Kano to Maradi, Niger Republic, while narrow gauge was still being done in many parts of Nigeria, including South-East.

President Muhammadu Buhari had  flagged off the construction work on the Kaduna-Kano standard gauge line three months ago and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation handling the project was given 18 months to complete the project.

Amaechi told the lawmakers during the budget defence session that his ministry was yet to get money for Kano-Kaduna, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects, adding, “The only money we have got is $1.4bn for Lagos-Ibadan rail project.”

The minister also said, “The construction of Kaduna-Kano railway to link up with the Abuja-Kaduna rail line has commenced. Survey and design for Ibadan-Minna-Abuja is ongoing; (we are starting the) construction of the 284 kilometres Nigeria-Maradi (Niger Republic) standard gauged, rail line enabling interconnectivity with countries in the West Africa sub region for the promotion of trade and commerce.

“This important contribution by Nigeria would be mutually beneficial by adding to the economic growth of the two countries, Niger and Nigeria.”

But responding to the minister’s submission, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Danjuma Goje, and his House of Representatives counterpart, Pat Azadu, kicked against what they called the marginalisation of other regions of the country in the construction of rail lines.

They told the minister of the need to construct uniform rail lines across the country instead of giving Kano-Maradi modern rail line and constructing old rail line to other regions.

Asadu questioned the rationale for constructing modern rail line for one place and constructing old rail lines to other parts of the country .

He said, “Why won’t you construct narrow gauge across the country so that we can develop equally. I can’t sit down and approve this. These are done with such impunity; my heart bleeds. This has been reoccurring.”

Senator Goje also supported Asadu, He said, “Why will you give us old rail line and spend a lot of money on standard gauge to Maradi? I completely concur with the statement of Honorable member in the House of Representatives.”

Ameachi, while responding to issues raised said that the difference between the narrow gauge and standard gauge is speed.

According to him, the negotiation for loan for the construction of Kano-Maradi standard gauge line is about to be completed, adding that the $1.3bn Kano-Maradi rail project was not based on sentiments but economic benefits for the country.

He said on completion of Kano-Maradi and Kano to Lagos railway, all national cargoes from Niger Republic, like uranium and gold, would be moved through Nigerian sea port from that corridor.

 

This, he said, would translate into huge economic benefits for Nigeria.

“What I will do before leaving office is to ensure that we move from verbal agreement with the government of Niger to written agreement,” he added.

 

 

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