Abuja-Kaduna rail service to resume within 7 days – FG

Abuja-Kaduna rail service to resume within 7 days – FG

By Lucy Ogalue, Abuja.

 

The Federal Government says train services between Abuja and Kaduna will resume within seven days.

 

Minister of Transportation Mua’zu Sambo made the disclosure on Sunday, while inspecting and test-running the train route.

 

He said that this was to enable passengers to get used to the new requirements put in place for using the train service.

 

Sambo said: “On the issue of whether the train will start tomorrow or not, we have not said the train services will start tomorrow.

 

“I want to be very categorical about that. Now, we have introduced a new system before you buy a ticket.

 

“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 are on board.

 

“If you don’t have an NIN, you are not going to board our train. It is as simple as that.

 

“If you are a minor, an adult will pay for you and will register for you and an adult can only register for not more than four minors.”

 

The minister added: “Now, we want to give sufficient time for the Nigerian public to listen to these and assimilate this new system; because if we start tomorrow, a lot of people will be disgruntled.

 

“Definitely between three, four, five days; certainly not more than a week.”

 

Sambo assured Nigerians that 90 per cent of the arrangements had been completed for the smooth commencement of the train services.

 

He added that the remaining 10 per cent measures would be achieved in a couple of days for the smooth commencement.

 

“I think we are 90-per-cent ready, as far as what we are set out to do is concerned.

 

“The remaining 10 per cent, I am sure would be achieved in the next couple of days for full resumption of train services.

 

“Certain concrete measures that are feasible include the ticketing. Security starts from ticketing, so now you don’t buy a ticket unless you have a valid phone number and you have a NIN.

 

“And if you are a foreigner, you also have a means of identification you can use, which is produced by the National Identity Management Commission.

 

“Having secured your ticket, you will not get access to the lounge until the machine reads the barcode on your receipt.

 

“Your details will show and your complete profile will show on the screen. Only then will you be allowed to go into the lounge. This is what we call customer profiling,” Sambo said.

 

According to the minister, there will be increased number of security personnel, some of whom may not be wearing uniform, in order to guarantee the safety of passengers.

 

He said: “The other thing is that for every journey, the train is monitored every second and the train driver can see up to a certain distance.

 

“If there is any threat on the track, that would enable him march the break before getting to the perceived threat.”

 

Sambo explained that there would be reduced number of trips on the route but as the travelling population increased, the number of trips would increase.

 

“But we will certainly not travel at night,” he said.

 

The minister also said that some other sensitive equipment, which would not be disclosed, had also been put in place to ensure safety of life and property.

 

On fares, he said that discussions were in place and that the fares could be increased.

 

“My assurance to Nigerians is that even I will be using the train, as well as my other counterparts who have homes in Kaduna.

 

“In fact, from next week they will start using this train, so I am giving Nigerians the full assurance that a human being can give that this train is safe for them to use.

 

“There is absolutely nothing to fear. We have learnt from what has happened and life is about learning lessons and adopting measures with the lessons.

 

“As a responsible government, we have seen those lessons and we have devised appropriate measures to counter the challenges.

 

“I’ve always said that I would not allow this train to resume until everybody in captivity was released, and to the glory of God, I have achieved that,” he said

 

Recall that train services along the Abuja-Kaduna corridor were halted due to a terrorist attack on March 28, which led to the death or kidnap of some passengers.

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