By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA Lagos
Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has set up a committee to find lasting solution to insecurity of life and infrastructure in the railway sector, the management of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has said.
The mandate of the committee includes the recommendation of present day technology to be used in real time monitoring of railway infrastructure and the deployment of enough security agents to be at strategic locations in the railway corridor.
The committee will also come out with a report on when to resume operations on Abuja-Kaduna train services which suffered terrorist attack on 28th March this year, resulting in the kidnapping of many passengers.
Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, released the information in Lagos on Wednesday at a Press briefing which was held to explain why the corporation has not resumed train operations on Abuja-Kaduna Train Service (AKTS) route.
“We have made several visits to the IG (Inspector-General of Police) and various military formations, and we are working together to ensure that Nigerians are safe, not just train users,” Okhiria said. “So, Director of Operations is on that subcommittee that are meeting to identify the technology that will be recommended, not only for protecting the rail movement but also protecting the infrastructure.”
The NRC chief executive officer said that the management of the corporation took time to ensure the restoration of the tracks and rolling stocks damaged by the terrorists who attacked the train.
He said, “We’re trying to work and cooperate with security agents to ensure that those being held regain their freedom.”
According to him, four members of staff of NRC were among the captives. “They were the loco driver, the train lightning technician who were officially on duty. We later knew about two other staff that were travelling unauthorized. We’re working to ensure the four of them are released. We also have third party arrangement that were working on the train, like cleaners. Any time they are released we cross-check from our manifest to ensure that their names are in the manifest.”
Okhiria disclosed that the corporation has lost 531 million Naira worth of revenue from March to August this year, as a consequence of the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train.
He stated that there is insurance cover for passengers on transit, but that the insurance does not cover terrorism and banditry.
The NRC leader said that there is insurance cover for the rolling stocks.
Okhiria admitted that government subsidizes the railway sector, stressing that government provides for salary in the budget. “Yes, government is subsidizing the rail sector,” he declared.