* Begins fencing of rail tracks
Kasim Sumaina and Ugwu Collins in Abuja
Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr. Fidet Okhiria, yesterday reassured passengers patronising the Abuja-Kaduna rail line of adequate security, insisting that there was no threat or whatsoever on the rail corridor.
Okhiria, in a telephone interview with THISDAY, advised that people should not give in to rumour mongering, adding that the rush to celebrate threat to life 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 any attack and there will never be one.
“There is adequate security in place and as such, I advise passengers and the general public to stop celebrating threat to life by the constant attention given to rumour attacks on the train.”
Recall that Okhiria had last week debunked an attack on one of its trains on the Abuja-Kaduna route rumoured to be carried out by gunmen, saying no gunshot was fired at any of its coaches.
He, however, admitted that one of the coaches of the Abuja-bound train was pelted with stones by unidentified boys in Kaduna last Thursday.
Against this background, he said the corporation has commenced the fencing of the 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. We should all protect any infrastructure government put in place, because of our children and the unborn generation,” he said.
Speaking on ticket racketeering, the NRC boss added: “There is no ticket racketeering at any of our stations. They have their name tags on their vests and if any of them caught involving in ticket racketeering, give us the name and we will deal with the person appropriately.”
THISDAY check revealed that passengers were seen purchasing their tickets without hindrance, largely due to fewer number of passengers at the station.
A Kaduna-bound passenger, Arije Gloria alleged that “ticket racketeering usually takes place during a rush hour. Racketeering is huge at the Kaduna axis of the corridor as passengers are usually in haste to return back to Abuja after spending weekend in Kaduna with their loved ones, especially Sundays.”
Aside ticket racketeering, Gloria observed that passengers have been complaining about prices of consumables on board the train.
She alleged: “Toilets are not been cleaned and there’s general lack of maintenance. I think the management can do more to ensure that toilets are well taking care of as this really poses dangers to many passengers on daily basis.”