March 2, 2024

The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, Fidet Okhiria, has said that the corporation will begin the Port-Harcourt-Aba, Lagos to Kano train services for both passengers and freight in the first quarter of 2024.

Mr Okhiria made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Lagos, on Monday.

The MD added that the corporation will also begin six train trips daily on the Standard Gauge Train across board in 2024.

He said that train was meant to be operating 24 hours, but the present situation in the country had reduced the turnaround time.

“We are going to increase number of train trips to six on Lagos-Ibadan, Warri-Itakpe and Abuja-Kaduna, which means the trips will be three times to and three times fro, making six trips in a day.

“The trips will commence before the second quarter of 2024. Right now, they are running four trips — two up and two down across board.

”What is limiting us is the night operations, and that is not the way train should operate. Train is meant to operate at all times. People may like to travel in the evening, but because of the security situation in to the country, we limit ourselves to day time.

“We intend to bring back passenger and freight train from Port-Harcourt to Aba, Lagos to Kano and Kaduna because of the dry ports,” Okhiria said.

He said the NRC had vandalism issue at Warri-Itakpe area in 2023, which was fixed two weeks after the incident took place.

The NRC boss said that it would be difficult for the train tracks to be vandalised when it was occupied.

He said that price of commodities would reduce drastically with the freight train operating across the country.

He said that Dala Dry Port had been asking NRC to come up and bring cargo to them, while Funtua and Kaduna dry ports had also showed interest in freight haulage.

Mr Okhiria said that railway would partner with all the dry ports in the country to reduce time of doing business and increase government revenue.

He said that NRC had employed junior staff from levels four and six, and was awaiting government approval before placing them.

The NRC boss said that they employed the junior staff to enhance their operations.

Mr Okhiria commended government efforts in connecting rail across the country and urged Nigerians to develop interest in rail transportation.

NAN

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