Nigeria has recorded an increase of over 400 per cent in train passengers within a space of one year, a new report by the National Bureau of Statistics has shown.
It also indicated that the Nigerian Railway Corporation generated N2.1 billion as revenue from passengers and cargo traffic in the first half of this year.
Apart from the biting economic lockdown imposed last year to curtail the spread of COVID-19, which adversely affected train service, the commencement of the new Lagos-Ibadan train service apart its inauguration in June this year and the reinvigorated Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line must are seen to have contributed to the NRC’s performance.
The report, titled, ‘Rail Transportation Data Q2’ stated that 565,385 passengers travelled by the rail system in the second quarter of 2021 against 108,238 passengers recorded in the second quarter of 2020 and 424,460 in Q1 2021.
This represents a 422.35 per cent growth year-on-year and 33.20 per cent quarter-on-quarter.
The report also specifically stated that the NRC generated N1.08 billion from passengers in the second quarter of 2021 against N892.47 million in Q1 2021.
Goods or cargo traffic in Q2 2021 fetched N71.56 million against N26.19 million in Q1 2021, while income from other receipts stood at N41 million in the last six months.
A further analysis of the report shows that the corporation recorded its highest revenue from passengers in Q2 2021 with N1.08 billion, while the lowest revenue generation from passengers was recorded in the second quarter of 2020 (Q2 2020), with N320.34 million.
The report showed from all categories that the year 2020 (particularly Q2 2020) suffered the most losses and turnout of passengers due to the COVID-19 lockdown imposed by the Federal Government to curtail the spread of the virus across Nigeria.
In June, the NBS had said the NRC generated N5.79 billion as revenue from passengers and cargo between 2019 and the first quarter of 2021 (Q1 2021).
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A kidnapped passenger of the Abuja-Kaduna train has been shot by terrorists and is critically wounded.
Tukur Mamu, the publisher who has been negotiating with the terrorists, disclosed this and identified the victim as Mohammed Al’amin.
Mamu, who facilitated the release of 11 of the passengers, confirmed the development to Daily Trust.
“I can confirm to you that the said passenger has been shot and the information is credible. It could also be intentional from them for the purpose of sending a message. Killing of their victims is something we know they can do. They have threatened to do that before,” he said.
He said the government must be prepared to take full responsibility if they fail to act on time.
Mamu said there had been constant communication but government was yet to take action.
He said, “I know what is in this crisis and that is why I keep emphasising that President Buhari must be prepared to take painful compromises if they are really committed to securing these innocent victims alive.
“With what we have succeeded in doing, the windows and opportunity we opened which there’s none hitherto, the government has the power to bring this to an end within three to four days.
“I assure them we can do it with their support and cooperation, and if it didn’t happen as long as government do the needful I will agree and accept to take full responsibility. Cases of emergency such as this doesn’t require unnecessary bureaucracy.”
New Lagos-Ibadan rail link to Apapa port ready by month end – Minister
The Federal Government has announced that it will actualise the linking of Lagos-Ibadan standard guage rail line to the Apapa port by the end of this month.
Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, disclosed this in Lagos on Monday, noting that a Customs building housing a radio-active scanner had been obstructing the complete extension of the rail track to the port quay.
She spoke while addressing journalists after an inspection of the affected building at the APM Terminals in the Apapa port.
She said, “By the end of this month, we want to ensure that the removal of this Customs facility which is on the rail track is resolved. The goal is to have this track operational by the end of this month.”
Senator Saraki explained that in the interim, a diversionary line is being constructed while experts’ advice was being sought on the demolition of the Customs scanner building.
Senator Saraki said, “We are here to look at the issues affecting activities to connect the rail to the Apapa seaport.
“As you can see, the construction of this standard gauge has been ongoing for more than two years and I came here to inspect the activities.
“We want to ensure that before the end of next month, the activities here have improved.”
She also said, “Although this building looks big, it is actually a minor issue that will be resolved by the time the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) seat together to discuss it.”
When asked why the delay over the removal of the Customs scanner building, Saraki said, “Inside the Customs building are radio-active scanners that can be injurious to human health and well-being. So, it is not a building that can just be demolished like any other property.”
“It is a radioactive facility. It has a scanner and we have to ensure that the demolition is done safely by experts.”
At the Tin-Can Island Port, the minister inspected some failed berths and collapsing quays at the Five Star Logistics Terminal and Tin-Can Island Container Terminal (TICT), and revealed that efforts would be geared to repair them without disturbing port operations.
Chinese begin training of Nigerians ahead of new Lagos-Ibadan railway handover
China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC) has commenced the process of handing over the operation of the newly inaugurated Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway to Nigerians.
The CCECC has organised a one-month training for the NRC workers.
About 167 NRC workers and those of the Federal Ministry of Transportation participated in the training.
The 157-kilometre standard gauge commenced full commercial operation in June 2021 after it was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari. It is currently being operated largely by the Chinese with a few NRC workers understudying them.
The training is part of the sustainability plan after the handover of the operation to the NRC as contained in the agreement the Federal Government signed with the Chinese firm.
The workers, it was learnt, were trained in various aspects of the railway operations such the sub-grade and structures, permanent way and introduction to various equipment, stations and communication, signaling and power supply system.
The Deputy Managing Director of CCECC, Xia Lijun, stated that the training was part of the processes to be observed preparatory to the final handover of the entire Lagos-Ibadan railway system.
He stated that there was no doubt that the participants have gained wealth of experiences from the training programme.
Lijun emphasised that the experience garnered so far would make the operation of the dedicated railway highly functional and meet up with the purpose for which the project was designed.
He enjoined all the trainees to be highly focused with full confidence in administering the knowledge already gained from the comprehensive training programme in both theory and practical processes.
Managing Director of NRC, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, said the training was the first of its kind in the history of railway modernization which started a long time ago.
He stated that the knowledge garnered would help in improving the infrastructure the government is handing over to the NRC.
Speaking on behalf of the trainees, Mrs. Kemi P. Ogbonna, District Superintendent Western District, said the training had exposed them to the rudiments of running and maintaining a new railway such as the new Lagos Ibadan standard gauge
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