We’re ready to operate Abuja/Kaduna line, says NRC

Rail workers task FG on passengers’ safety

Following the announcement by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on the resumption of the Abuja/Kaduna rail line, the Nigerian Railway Cooperation (NRC) says it is 85 per cent ready for commencement of operation on the route.

During the inspection of the stations at the weekend, the Station Manager, Abuja/Kaduna Train Service, Pascal Nnorli, told newsmen in Kaduna that they had been able to put the social distancing marks in the station’s buildings and coaches.

What is remaining, he added, is the decontamination of the rolling stocks, the station’s building and the office.He, however, declared the station’s ‘no mask, no entry’ zone, disclosing that they had employed more security personnel to ensure passengers comply with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) guidelines.

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“This is about life and death; it doesn’t know big man, middle man or small man. So, anybody who is not willing to comply with those protocols we have set, please don’t come to our station.”

Meanwhile, Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai, while speaking at the Rigasa station, commended the Federal Government on the increase in the transport fares, saying it would help curb ticket racketeering on the route.

The government had announced that passengers on economy class would pay N3,000; business class N5,000 and first class N6,000. El-Rufai, however, appealed to the Federal Government to computerise the ticket purchase to cut out middlemen and hoarders.

AS the Federal Government considers re-opening of railway operations, the Nigeria Union of Railway Workers (NUR) has called on government to ensure that all required safety and preventive protocols are in order before bringing the trains back on track.

According to NUR, the health and safety of of commuters and workers are very dear to the union, saying it would not be disposed to a situation that will undermine the health of its members and customers.

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In a statement signed by the Secretary-General, Segun Esan, the union said adequate healthcare facilities should be provided within railway industrial clinics to serve as care and isolation centres where COVID cases could be promptly addressed.

It stated that all the workers in the corporation’s health department and various clinics should be adequately protected against the virus and should be paid hazard allowance as obtainable in the health sector.

Esan added that the government should ensure that the frontline workers of the corporation like the ticket checkers, station staff, loco driving crew, mechanical staff and other train running staff were provided personal protective equipment.

“Succinctly put, the quest of the Federal Government to return train services is a welcome idea and should be a direct function of robust insulation from the pandemic of all the workers of the corporation wherever they work within the railway system, and the teeming commuters and customers of the corporation wherever they exist in Nigeria,” he added.

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COVID-19NRCRotimi Amaechi
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