July 20, 2024

Fidet Okhiria, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), has announced that the Kaduna-Kano train service will begin operations in the first quarter of 2025.

This announcement was made during an inspection of the Rigasa Train Station in Kaduna, prompted by recent cases of vandalism along the railway corridor.

Okhiria shared that the track construction has reached Makarfi Local Government Area from Kano. “The Kaduna-Kano train is coming up, the track has gotten to Makarfi Local Government Area from Kano, and we are hoping that by early next year, people will be able to enjoy our services from Abuja through Kaduna to Kano,” he said.

However, Okhiria highlighted significant challenges affecting their operations, including the rising cost of diesel and security concerns. He explained that the high patronage initially seen declined after the attack incident in March 2023, leading to a reduction in the number of trains and limiting operations to daylight hours.

“When we started, the patronage was high but after the attack incident in March 2023, things stepped down,” he noted. “Diesel costs have also surged from N230-N280 per litre to between N1,000 and N2,000, which has further constrained our operations.”

Addressing the issue of vandalism, Okhiria stated that the Federal Government is implementing measures to secure the train services and infrastructure. “We are on top of the insecurity situation, in talks with the Commissioner of Police and other security agencies to further provide more security for our customers and also against the incessant removal of sleepers on the track,” he said. He assured that security is a top priority, with plans to expand air surveillance currently deployed on the Abuja-Kaduna route to other parts of the network.

Okhiria also mentioned the NRC’s efforts to enhance monitoring through technology to combat vandalism, stating, “We will deploy technology to monitor the train and the tracks like mobile phones to address vandalisation across the country.”

Regarding ticket racketeering, Okhiria noted a significant reduction in such cases since the introduction of e-ticketing. “We have tried to limit staff contact with customers by ensuring they buy their tickets online and there are equipment that checks customers in and out of the stations,” he explained.

In summary, the Kaduna-Kano train service is set to launch in early 2025, with the NRC addressing security and operational challenges to ensure a reliable and efficient service for passengers.

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