February 26, 2024

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, has asked that the Federal Government provide diesel to power the trains during the 15-day duration so that rail transport would be free for commuters nationwide.  

The NRC Managing Director said this on Thursday’s edition of Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily while commenting on the intervention scheme announced by the Federal Government to relieve Nigerians of the high cost of travelling during the yuletide.  

Recall that on Wednesday, Nairametrics reported that President Tinubu had announced a 50% slash in transport fares for interstate travels and free commuter rides on all rail lines from Dec. 20, 2023, to Jan. 4, 2024. 

While commending the initiative, Okhiria said that the Federal Government should provide the necessary resources to defray the cost, adding that the agency was yet to recover from the previous transport fare slash for rail lines.  

What the NRC MD is saying: 

  • “This is not the first time. We did this two years ago. It was effective. I say we’ve yet to recover from that. But what is the government for? The government is to make sure that people have comfort as much as possible 
  • “And we are quite willing and wishing to provide that service. You know, you don’t forget in other developed world, they get this thing either directly or indirectly. 
  • “You recall during the COVID, even private companies were given relief, and those without jobs like in the UK, US, and everywhere…So it’s a good thing that the government considers we should do a free service, but they should also be willing to provide the resources to do it. 
  • “We are hoping this time they are going to give us the fuel for those 15 days we are going to provide the free service. They are also willing to provide at least the money we pay to the cleaners and the security.” 

Okhiria explained that the NRC will buy diesel to power the trains and other expenses.  

Back story  

On Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023, Nairametrics reported that President Tinubu announced a 50 per cent slash in transport fares for interstate travel and free commuter rides on all rail lines from Dec. 20, 2023, to Jan. 4, 2024.  

The Minister of Solid Minerals, Dele Alake disclosed this to the Aso Rock Correspondents after a meeting with the President on Wednesday. 

  • He said, “In the spirit of Christmas and end-of-the-year festivities President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in another demonstration of his love for Nigerians has approved that the federal government should intervene to bring down the cost of public transportation to allow our compatriots who want to travel to visit their loved ones and hometown to do so without stress and extra burden posed by high cost transport around this period. 
  • “President Tinubu wants Nigerians to be able to travel within Nigeria to wherever they want to go to meet their loved ones without the extra burden of paying exorbitantly for interstate public transportation. 
  • “It is in this wise that the President is announcing through us that beginning from tomorrow, December 21, Nigerians willing to travel can board public transport via mini buses, and luxury buses at a 50% discount of current cost and all our train services on the route the trains currently serve at zero cost to and fro for their travels this holiday season.” 

Nairametrics

Affairs TV News

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