Nwanneka Ezemelue and Ifeanyi Konyehi
The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has announced that the third train running from Lagos to Ilorin has started operation; bringing the frequency of the Express Passenger Train Service to six weekly.
The corporation undertook this move, in its effort to reduce horrid road experiences for travellers, coupled with the effects of the fuel subsidy removal on transportation and movement across the country.
In a statement issued by the Corporation’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr. Segun Esan, NRC said the first Ilorin train for the week would depart Iddo, Lagos every Tuesday at 9 a.m. and return to Lagos every Wednesday.
According to him, “the second train for the week will leave Iddo on Friday at 9 a.m. and return on Saturday. Then the third train for the week takes its leave on Saturday the same time, crossing the second train at Bodija in Ibadan, Oyo State as the second train makes its journey to Lagos. The third train returns on Sunday.”
He stated that the increase in the frequency of Lagos-Ilorin passenger train service became necessary because of the gradual increase in passengers. Esan noted that the increase also exemplified the corporation’s commitment to add values to the rail transport service in Nigeria.
He revealed that the corporation was finalising its arrangement as regards the Lagos-Kano mass train service, enjoining travelers and tourists as well to take maximum advantage of the service as “rail transport is the safest, most affordable, convenient mobility and commuter’s preferred choice.”
Meanwhile, NRC has assured the general public of adequate security on all train routes, as the corporation resumes Lagos-Kano and Lagos-Ilorin passenger train services.
The assurance was made recently by NRC and the Lagos State Director of State Security Service (SSS), Mr. Ben Achu Olayi, when the latter received the management team of the corporation led by the Director, Administration and Human Resources, Mr. Aminu Gusau, in his office.
Olayi enumerated the strategic importance of train services on security system, adding that the NRC would continue to remain a symbol of the nation.
NRC, in a statement issued by its Assistant Director Public Relations, Mr. David Ndakotsu, quoted Olayi as saying that train stations across the country are a major sector of the national security system being closely monitored.
He assured the NRC management of continuous collaboration to secure its rail corridors against any form of attack. He expressed delight with the ongoing rehabilitation project of the railways, which he insisted must be secured in order to achieve the targeted economic benefits.
“It is an improved means to convey people and goods, especially petroleum products, over long distances, to reduce frequent tanker accidents and other ugly incidents on the roads”, he said.
Gusau in his response said the purpose of the visit was to seek advice from stake holders and experts in key areas of safety operation in train services. He added that Nigerians have been anticipating the resumption of long-distance train services.
He stressed the urgent need to streamline avenues of collaboration in security and safety operations of the transport sub-sector, adding that the huge investment in the railway industry by the Federal Government needed to be secured along with the travelling public.