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Reactions trail NRC’s resumption of train services

…Barely 24 hours of suspension

Mixed reactions have greeted the *-resumption of passenger train services announcement barely 24 hours the corporation announced that the services will be shut last Monday following the spread of the coronavirus desease.

While a cross section of train passengers say the earlier move to shut-down services was commendable in the interest of public safety and that no consideration for revenue generation by the NRC is worth the life of any Nigerian, they also wondered why the management of NRC decided to make a U-turn under a very short interval of its earlier notice pronouncement.

Other passengers who spoke to our reporter on phone expressed worry over the directive by the NRC that all train passengers are to provide full details of their names, addresses, date of birth and means of identification.

Their worry stems from the fact that before now, reliance and authenticity of available data from the corporation, if any, is doubtful as a result of lack of proper documentation of passenger manifests in the face of ticket racketeering and over-crowding of passengers inside the coaches.

Last weekend, the public relations department of NRC said the corporation is suspending train services as a result has the coronavirus pandemic nationwide, but after a review of its decision said it will resume services, but with list of conditions.

Yakub Mahmood in a follow-up statement titled; ‘Passenger Train Services To Continue’ dated March 22, 2020, the NRC said henceforth, all passengers are to provide full details of their names, addresses, date of birth and means of identification.

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) had on Saturday announced the termination of all train services across the country from Monday 23 March 2020, in order to curb the spread of Coronavirus in the country.
According to a statement signed by Yakub Mahmood, the NRC deputy director for Public Relations, further information on train services will be made available to train passengers over time:

“The Board and Management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) have decided to stop all passenger trains operation as from Monday 23rd of March 2020.

Meanwhile, Fidet Okhiria, managing director of NRC has assured that track laying on the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project would get to Ebute-Metta Junction (EBJ) by end of March.

Okhiria said that though the COVID-19 had affected virtually every sector, the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), the contractor handling the project, had not stopped work.

According to him, “Work on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project is going and the CCECC are working. Work is ongoing in major stations now. Everything is taking shape. Nigerians should expect that by the end of this month, the tracks are going to get to Ebute-Matta Junction’’.

 

MIKE OCHONMA

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