By Kasim Sumaina and Ugwu Collins in Abuja
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has reassured passengers patronising its Abuja-Kaduna rail route of adequate security, insisting that there is no threat on the rail corridor.
Speaking in a telephone interview with THISDAY on Monday, NRC’s Managing Director, Mr. Fidet Okhiria, advised its customers not give in to rumour mongering, adding that the rush to celebrate during festivities fuels the constant rumoured attacks on the train.
According to him, “I’m not a rumour monger and I cannot speak on security threat on our rail line because there is nothing of such. I don’t know why people rush to celebrate or write about evil. There was no attack and there has never been and there will never be one.
“There is adequate security in place and as such, I advised passengers and the general public to stop celebrating threat to life by the constant attention given to rumour attacks on the train.”
Okhiria had last week debunked a rumoured attack on one of its trains on the Abuja-Kaduna route allegedly carried out by some gunmen, saying no gunshot was fired at any of its coaches.
He, however, admitted that one of the coaches of its last Thursday morning’s Abuja-bound train was pelted with stones by unidentified boys in Kaduna.
Against this background, he said the corporation has commenced the fencing of rail tracks in some of the communities along the corridor.
“This is to curtail future occurrence. We have to put our hands together to make Nigeria great and any infrastructure government put in place, we should all protect it because, our children even the yet unborn generation will also live to meet these infrastructure, not something we put in place now, tomorrow it’s gone,” he said.
Speaking on ticket racketeering, the NRC boss stated: “There is no ticket racketeering at any of our stations. They have their name tags on their vest and if any of them is caught involving in ticket racketeering, give us the name and we will deal with the person appropriately.”
THISDAY checks revealed that passengers were seen purchasing their tickets without hindrance, largely due to the fewer number of passengers at the station.
A Kaduna-bound passenger, Arije Gloria, who spoke with THISDAY, said: “Ticket racketeering usually takes place during a rush. Racketeering is huge at the Kaduna axis of the corridor as passengers are usually in haste to return to Abuja after spending weekend in Kaduna with their loved ones, especially Sundays.”
Aside ticket racketeering, Gloria noted that passengers have started complaining about prices of consumables within the train.
She added: “Toilets are not been cleaned and there’s general lack of maintenance. I think the management can do more to ensure that toilets are taken care of as this is really inconveniencing many on daily basis,” she said.