By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has clarified issues involving train explosion along Abuja-Kaduna route.
According to NRC’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO), Engr. Fidet Okhiria, the Abuja-Kaduna service is run on a fully automated e-ticket system with entry and exit turnstiles that validate every passenger on board trains.
Ticket checkers, he explained, also validate the tickets of every passenger via electronic validators linked to the central system to verify the integrity of the corporation’s manifest.
Okhiria said that 398 passengers purchased tickets to travel on the NRC service.
He stated that 362 passengers actually boarded the AK9 service.
“The entire seat capacity of the train in question is 840 (eight hundred and forty) passengers, therefore, the figure of 970 (nine hundred and seventy) being circulated cannot be correct,” the NRC managing director said.
He pointed out that the AK9 service is the last service out of Abuja on a Monday evening, and is usually at less than half capacity.
Okhiria said that passengers on board the AK9 service on Monday have confirmed that the train was certainly not run at full capacity.
“The NRC is continuing its efforts to reach out to passengers using the comprehensive manifest in order to obtain valid information about their present condition,” Okhiria said. “Finally, while we continue to sympathize with the nation, we kindly implore members of the Press, social media sites, and the general public to desist from spreading false information at this delicate time.”
The NRC chief executive officer made the clarification in a “Press Notice” made available to New Nigerian on Monday.
He explained that the clarification became necessary for the avoidance of doubt regarding the subject.
“Our attention has been drawn to the misleading and sensitive information circulating on social media with respect to the number of passengers on the train,” Okhiria said.
He expressed the corporation’s sympathy for the victims of the attack.
Okhiria declared: “The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) deeply commiserates with all the passengers on board the NRC AK9 train of 28th March 2022, their relatives and friends, the Government and people of Kaduna State and the Federal Capital Territory, as well as the entire nation. In particular, we regret the death of 8 of our passengers and security personnel attached to the train service, as well as the injury suffered by scores of our passengers, not mentioning the trauma caused them and crew by the armed attack.
“We also earnestly pray for the speedy recovery of the injured passengers, while praying God grants the families of the bereaved the fortitude to bear the loss.”