By Lucy Ogalue
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has expressed its readiness to resume normal services on the Abuja-Kaduna train service (AKTS) route following the recent explosion on the rail track.
The Managing Director of NRC, Mr Fidet Okhiria, told newsmen that the corporation was also committed to ensuring the safety of passengers and crew on the route.
‘The Board and Management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation hereby informs the general public, particularly our valued passengers, that Abuja – Kaduna train services (AKTS) will resume tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 23.
”The first train will run from, Idu, Abuja (AK3) at 0950a.m and from Rigasa Kaduna (KA4) at 1035a.m. Subsequent trains services will continue. NRC, once again, sincerely apologises for the inconvenience, Okhiria said.
The NRC boss noted that the Police, DSS and other security apparatus were now fully involved in safe guarding rail facilities from further attacks.
” The Commissioner of Police, DSS are now going to be fully involved. The minster also spoke about introducing technology and we have an active team that will respond to the information that will be provided by the technology”,
He further urged Nigerians to stay firm and not be scared ”so as not to give people, who do not wish Nigeria well, room to succeed “, noting that it was better to run more trains on the track as that would prevent people from interfering with the tracks.
” If we have all trains running, the people would have to work very hard to be able to plant explosives,” Okhiria explained.
On ensuring adequate means of communication along the route, the NRC boss said the corporation would try and replicate a satellite telephone system on the route, similar to what was provided on the Warri-Itakpe route.
Okhiria said the corporation could not provide transportation from rail stations to metropolises, adding, ”that is why we are hoping for a PPP so that people can organise themselves and provide that service.
” The people can even come and key into our e-ticketing so that when the passengers come we use their bus and at the end of the day we do our calculations. We don’t want to do that on our own. But, we have to make sure that the actual person who gets it can do it,” he said.
Also, Mr Pascal Nnorli, AKT Station Manager, affirmed that the challenges that arose as a result of explosion, had been surmounted, such that all was ready for the services to resume.
“The only thing that we are still going to address is the locomotive that was affected and already my men are working on that. If you go to Idu now they have dropped most of the components that were affected under it.
”Having said that it just the windscreen and the painting that is remaining. We are set to start fully tomorrow, but we may not run full services as it might be affected,” Nnorli said.
On passengers who already had tickets before the suspension, Nnorli reiterated that the NRC was a responsible government agency and would not collect money for services not rendered and that such passengers would be given options to either re-route or be refunded their monies.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had earlier directed the NRC to resume services on the Abuja-Kaduna route, while assuring the installation of a digitalised security system along the route. (NAN)