NRC boss speaks on commencement of Kaduna-Kano train service

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, has said that the Kaduna-Kano train service will commence operations in the first quarter of 2025.

Okhiria stated this during an inspection of the Rigasa Train Station in Kaduna due to the recent cases of vandalisation on the corridor.

“The Kaduna-Kano train is coming up, the track has gotten to Makarfi Local Government Area from Kano, and we are hoping that by early next year, people will be able to enjoy our services from Abuja through Kaduna to Kano,” Okhiria said.

He however lamented the rising cost of diesel and insecurity, which he said have been slowing down their activities and train operations.

“When we started, the patronage was high but after the attack incident in March 2023, things stepped down. We were running 10 trains then but after the incident and also because of the rising cost of diesel, we had to limit the number of times and we have also reduced our operations to daylight only.

“At the time we started, diesel was between N230 to N280 per litre, it now costs between N1,000 to N2,000 depending on the supplier and because rail is for the people, the government decided to maintain the price so that people can enjoy from what the government is providing.”

On vandalism, he said: “The Federal Government is taking measures to further secure the train and other components, adding, “We are on top of the insecurity situation, we are in talks with the Commissioner of Police and other security agencies to further provide more security for our customers and also against incessant removal of sleepers on the track.

“Security is a top priority because our trains also carry goods. For instance, we are carrying pipelines from Itakpe in Warri, we have started carrying containers from Lagos to Kaduna, Lagos to Idah and Lagos to Kano, so it’s a general surveillance on all stations. We will continue to liaise with security agencies to ensure rail is taken seriously; as right now, we provide air surveillance on the Abuja-Kaduna train and sooner or later, it will be extended to other parts,” he assured.

He expressed optimism that in the nearest future, the corporation will deploy technology to monitor the train and the tracks like mobile phones to address vandalisation across the country.

Speaking on ticket racketeering, Okhiria noted that since the introduction of e-ticketing, cases of racketeering have been reduced to the barest minimum.

“We have tried to limit staff contact with customers by ensuring they buy their tickets online and there are equipment that checks customers in and out of the stations,” he added.

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