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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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Just in: Nigerian railway postpones resumption of Abuja-Kaduna train indefinitely

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The Nigerian Railway Corporation has postponed indefinitely the resumption of its suspended Abuja-Kaduna train service, following public outcry against the initial decision to return to operation next Monday May 23.
The service was suspended after terrorists on March 28 attacked a passenger train on that route, near Kaduna, killing eight people and abducting over 60 passengers, most of who are still in captivity.
The NRC had earlier in the week said the Federal Government had approved that train service should resume next Monday while efforts are being intensified to secure the release of those still held captive.

But relatives of the abducted by train passengers kicked against this, vowing to obstruct any train operation on the route without the release of their loved ones. Some option leaders also called on the government to rescind its decision to resume the train service.

A statement by the NRC Deputy Director Public Relations, Mahmoud Yakubu, on Friday evening announced a shift in the resumption date of the Abuja-Kaduna train and apologised for this.

It also said, “A new date will be announced soonest. The NRC will continue to cooperate and collaborate with the Federal Government in its uncompromising mandate of protecting the territorial integrity and the internal security of Nigeria for safeguarding the lives and properties of its citizens especially as it concerns the rail subsector.”

The corporation identified with relatives of those in captivity after the last train attack, adding that actions were being taken to secure their safe release.

It stated, “The Federal Government is alive to its

responsibility for the safe rescue of all persons being held hostage. We therefore appeal, particularly to the relatives of persons held hostage to be patient and cooperate with the corporation and the security agencies.”

 

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Just in: Abuja-Kaduna train service resumes Monday May 23, says NRC

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The Nigerian Railway Corporation says Abuja-Kaduna train service will resume next Monday, May 23, 2022 about six weeks after its operations were disrupted by terrorists.

The train service was suspended after the terrorists’ attack, leading to the death of eight passengers and abduction of over 60 people, many of them still in captivity.
The NRC in a statement on Monday evening by its spokesman, Mahmoud Yakub, said the Federal Government had directed the resumption of the Abuja-Kaduna train service.
“The passenger train service between Abuja-Kaduna is to commence on Monday 23rd May, 2022,” the statement said.

Relatives of abducted train passengers had warned the Federal Government not to resume the train operations until those held captive were safely released and reunited with their families.
The NRC added in the statement that additional security measures were being put in place at both the train stations and on the track to ensure the safety of the passengers onboard.
“These measures are not only for the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service (AKTS) but also for all the passenger train services especially on the standard gauge railway lines,” it stated.
Meanwhile, the NRC said concerted joint efforts to secure the safe release of the abducted passengers being held hostage by the terrorists would continue “out of the public domain for strategic security reasons”.
It stated that the government wishes to assure the relatives of the abducted citizens still in captivity that the safe rescue of these passengers is a top priority and not to misconstrue the resumption of train services, as abandonment or nonchalant attitude of the government towards their plight. The federal government will never abdicate its responsibility in rescuing these valuable citizens, however, the government assures of its resolve not to succumb to threats by any faceless group.

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Army sergeant, 13 others arrested with three truckloads of rail track materials

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The police have arrested 14 suspects, including a serving Army sergeant, in connection with the vandalisation and stealing of rail track materials in different parts of the country.

Three trucks loaded with railway slippers, steel and clips were recovered from the suspects, according to the Railway Police Command of the Nigeria Police Force.

The arrest involving the sergeant, Sirajo Suleiman, who works with the Nigerian Army Central Ammunition Department, Kaduna, was made on April 27, 2022, by the Kafanchan divisional headquarters of the command, alongside six other suspects.

They were alleged to loaded multiple rail sheets of steel into two trucks in a bush near Camuru Station in the Katchia Local Government Area of the state when the policemen swooped on them.

The names of other suspected vandals were given as Idris Bawa, Idris Musa, Shamsu Abdulahi, Anthony Moses and Yunana Gaius.

Three weeks earlier, the Kafanchan Railway Police Division of the command, reportedly intercepted a truck fully loaded with railway slippers along Bankin-Kaninkon-Kogi road.

The suspected vandals were said to have fled the scene abandoning the truck on sighting the police.

During the investigation, one Ahmed Tanko, who resides in Dangoma Village Jam ‘A Local Government Area of Kaduna State was arrested and reportedly confessed to the crime.

Efforts according to the Commissioner of Police, Railway Police Command headquarters, CP Yetunde Longe, who confirmed both cases, were being intensified to apprehend his fleeing accomplices.

She disclosed that three other suspects, Abdukarim Haruna, Hassan Dahiru and Bashir Mumuhamed, were also apprehended by the Kano Division of the Railway Command, with the recovery of 51 railway slippers, 26 rail sheets of steel and several quantities of destroyed rail iron rods and slippers.

Also in Oyo State, she said the Dugbe Railway Police Division, Ibadan, arrested “an O’ War official identified as Azeez Wahab with a BAGCO bag containing 50 NRC tool bolts without a satisfactory account of how he found them.

“Similarly, the Offa Division of the Railway Command, Kwara State, also arrested one Ibukun of Railway Mechanical Department (Diesel Maintenance Section) for vandalism and stealing aluminium in one of the unused coaches within the train station premises; while the Minna divisional headquarters also arrested one Aliyu for vandalizing railway clips in Minna, Niger State,” she stated.

“In another development, the Bodija Divisional Headquarters of the Railway Command in Ibadan arrested a 20-year-old armed robbery suspect identified as Abdulahi Fatai aka ‘Akube’.

“Investigations revealed that the case is connected to that of another armed robbery suspect who was earlier arrested in December 2021, while going for an operation”.

She, therefore, warned criminal elements to desist from vandalizing government properties, especially the railways, threatening that anyone caught would be dealt with to the full extent of the law.

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