When contacted, the spokesperson for the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mahmood Yakubu, said he could not comment on the development.
The suspension of the Abuja-Kaduna train service within five months has cost the Nigerian Railway Corporation N531m in revenue loss, the Managing Director of the firm, Fidet Okhiria, has said.
He stated this in Lagos on Wednesday at a quarterly press briefing of the corporation.
He said the amount represented what could have been made through ticket sales for the standard gauge passenger train, which was attacked by terrorists about six months ago.
Since terrorists on March 28 attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train, killing eight people and abducting 62 passengers, it has not resumed operation.
Although many of those held hostage have been released in piecemeal, the Federal Government has said train service would not be restored on the route until all those still in captivity are released and adequate security measures put in place along the corridor.
Okhiria said, “We have lost N531m between March 28 when the train attack happened and August through the expected ticket sales on the suspended Abuja-Kaduna Train Service (AKTS).”
Although the NRC MD said the corporation had restored the damaged rolling stock and fixed the track, the train service would not resume without the safe release of the remaining passengers held hostage.
He said four railway workers were among those still being held captive.
He said, “We believe proper security measures should be put in place. Government has set up a committee to ensure maximum security for both train passengers and facilities during operation.
“The minister (of transportation) is leading the struggle for the safe release of those still in captivity. We could not go with force to ensure noone loses their life.”
Okhiria said the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge train was running four trips daily, just as the other regular train service including Warri-Itakpe line.
“Lagos-Ibadan train service has not stopped running one day. It operates four daily trips. The Itakpe-Warri line runs two trains a day,” he said.
NRC will resume Abuja-Kaduna train operations Monday Dec 5 – MD Okhiria
‘Update mobile app for booking’ – NRC says Abuja-Kaduna train to resume on Monday
The Federal Government says the Abuja-Kaduna train services will commence on Monday, December 5, 2022.
Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, stated this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria, stressing that all was set for the resumption of train operations along that route on Monday
He, however, advised passengers to begin updating their mobile apps as from December 3, 2022, to enable them to successfully book for rides.
He noted that services would commence with two train rides from Abuja to Kaduna and vice versa.
Okhiria said, “AK 1 will depart Idu Station at 9:45hrs and arrive at Rigasa station at 11:53hrs. KA 2 will depart Rigasa at 8:00hrs and arrive Idu station at 10:17hrs. AK 3 will depart Idu Station at 15:30hrs and arrive Rigasa Station at 17:38hrs. And KA 4 will depart Rigasa at 14:00hrs and arrive Idu Station at 16:07hrs.
The NRC boss assured passengers of the federal government’s commitment to ensure safety of lives and properties on board its train at all times.
The continued delay in resumption had sparked speculations that services would recommence last Monday.
But on Tuesday, Mua’zu Sambo, minister of transportation, said train services on the corridor would resume within seven days.
The minister said this was to enable passengers to get used to the new requirements (phone number and national identification number) for boarding the train.
“Your purchase of a ticket requires you to provide a phone number and a national identification number in order to profile, because that is the beginning of the security checks.
“So, at any point in time when a train moves from one station to another, we know who and who is on board.
“If you don’t have a national identification number (NIN) you are not going to board our train. It is as simple as that.”
Insecurity: FG installs CCTV cameras on Abuja-Kaduna train coaches
The Federal Government has commenced the installation of closed-circuit television cameras on train coaches that will be run on Abuja-Kaduna rail line.
This is coming a few days after the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, announced the postponement of the train service resumption by one week.
PUNCH reported last week that some contractors were at the Idu rail station to install the cameras and trackers but couldn’t install them.
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It was reported on Tuesday that two out of the initial three cameras were fixed.
Punch correspondent, who visited the Idu rail station on Tuesday, observed that workers said to be working for FG contractors were installing the cameras on the coaches.
However, the surroundings of the stations were still filled with dry grass.
A reliable source within the Idu rail station confirmed the development, saying, “They are mounting the DMU on the other side. They are fixing three cameras on each coach, making it six.”
Amaechi left indelible mark in railways, we’ll continue, says Sambo
Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, says he will build on the legacies of his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, in the area of railway transformation, which he describes as an indelible mark.
He stated this during a tour of railway facilities from Lagos to Ibadan.
He was accompanied by the Minister of State for Transport, Adeleke Adegoroye.
He praised Amaechi’s
commitment in ensuring the actualisation of the standard gauge rail for Nigerians.
“I wish the incoming government will continue with the progress in the rail sector which we are all proud of presently.
“My gratitude goes to my predecessor for all he has done while in office , even his enemies would admit to his commitment towards achieving success in the rail sector.
“My predecessor had left an indelible mark; although we have limited time, we have vowed to continue where the former minister stopped.”
After a train ride from Lagos to Ibadan, Sambo, who interacted with some of the train passengers in Abeokuta, expressed satisfaction with the standard guage train service.
He commended the management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation for their support
“We have been receiving support from the management of railway; we hope it will be sustained to enable us to create the enabling environment for business to strive and reduce cost of doing business.”
Sambo, who interacted with some train passengers at Wole Soyinka Railway Station in Abeokuta during the Lagos-Ibadan train tour, said he was satisfied with the service and favourable persengers’ comments.
“I am highly impressed with the railway modernisation programme of this administration. What we have seen is unprecedented. And we have vowed, my colleague and I, that within the short time that we have to spend as ministers, we will build on what we have found so that the trajectory will not be truncated in any way at all.”
Speaking on the Abuja-Kaduna railway corridor, Sambo reiterated the ministry’s stance on resuming operations in November.
He however refrained from stating a specific resumption date and asked Nigerians to wait patiently.
“We have announced previously that we are going to commence operations on that line this month. We have the target date. It is not necessary for me to share that date publicly. I don’t think that would help in running the service. Nigerians are interested in the service, right? Today is November 17; less than two weeks before the month is over. So, just be patient,” the minister said.
The team also visited the control tower, where Managing Director, NRC, Mr Fidet Okhiria, explained the importance of the place in monitoring the entire gamut of train operations along the Lagos-Ibadan corridor and to cover the entire railway network later.
Okhiria earlier in his welcome address commended the FG’s commitment towards ensuring completion of all the projects within the time frame, adhering to quality and international best practices.
He said that railway was the cornerstone of economic growth of all countries through mass movement of freight and people, thereby creating direct and indirect job opportunities, urbanisation, business expansion and social integration for peaceful coexistence.
“In the recent time, the NRC has been facing some challenges which include security and vandalisation. We thank the minister and his team for their effort towards ensuring that the railway corridors are now properly secure for the safety of our esteemed passengers and other stakeholders.
” I also commend the effort of he Honourable minister by ensuring all hostages of the AKTS infamous train attack were released before the resumption of the train operations on AKTS. This shows the compassion and empathy of our minister,” Okhiria said.
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