TRANSPORTATION: Abuja/Kaduna Train Service To Resume Soon-Minister
“There will be no Night Trips”-Sambo
The Minister of Transportation Mua’zu Jaji Sambo has disclosed that Federal Government has concluded arrangements for train services between the Abuja and Kaduna route to resume within seven day as he inspected test running of operation along the route over the weekend
According to Sambo ”The issue of whether the train will start tomorrow or not, we have not said the train services will start tomorrow. ”I want to be very categorical about that. Now, we have introduced a new system before you buy a ticket. Your purchase of a ticket requires you to provide a phone number and a national identification number in order to profile, because that is the beginning of the security checks”.
”So, at any point in time when a train moves from one station to another we know who and who are on board. If you don’t have an NIN you are not going to board our train. It is as simple as that. If you are a minor, an adult will pay for you and will register for you and an adult can only register for not more than four minors.”
Speaking further Sambo said ”We want to give sufficient time for the Nigerian public to listen to these and assimilate this new system, because if we start tomorrow, a lot of people will be disgruntled. Definitely between three, four, five days, certainly not more than a week.”
He assured Nigerians that 90 per cent arrangement has been completed for the smooth commencement of the services adding that the remaining 10 per cent measures would be achieved in a couple of days for the smooth commencement.
”I think we are 90 per cent ready as far as what we are set out to do is concerned. The remaining 10 per cent I am sure would be achieved in the next couple of days for full resumption of train services. Certain concrete measures that are feasible include the ticketing. Security starts from ticketing so now you don’t buy a ticket unless you have a valid phone number and you have a NIN”.
”And if you are a foreigner you also have a means of identification you can use which is produced by the National Identity Management Commission. Having secured your ticket, you will not get access to the lounge until the machine reads the barcode in your receipt. Your details will show and your complete profile will show on the screen. Only then will you be allowed to go into the lounge. This is what we call customer profiling,” Sambo said.
According to the minister, there will be increased number of security personnel some of which may not be wearing uniform in order to guarantee the safety of passengers.
”The other thing is that, for every journey the train is monitored every second and the train driver can see up to a certain distance. If there is any threats on the track, that would enable him march the break before getting to the perceived threat.”
Sambo explained that there would be reduced number of trips on the route and as the traveling population increases, the number of trips would increase.
”But we will certainly not travel at night,” he said.
“I can can assure you that we are a very sensitive government and will consider the masses in the review of the train fare.” We are not going to tell you what we have done. It is a security matter and I have no apologies for that. We’ll be monitoring operations on a daily basis and improve on wherever we find some snags”.
“The ticketing called e-ticketing has already been contracted to a company called secure ID. That concession has gone through the entire concession process under extant laws, including approval by the Federal Executive Council. So that concession remains in place for the duration of the concession period, which I think is 10 years”.
He further said that some other sensitive equipment which would not be disclosed had also been put in place to ensure safety of life and property.
”My assurance to Nigerians is that even I will be using the train, and other of my counterparts who have homes in Kaduna. Infact, from next week they will start using this train so I am giving Nigerians full assurance that this train is safe for them to use”.
”There is absolutely nothing to fear. We have learnt from what has happened and life is about learning lessons and adopting measures with the lessons. As a responsible government, we have seen those lessons and we have devised appropriate measures to counter it”.
”Like I always say that I was not going to allow this train to resume until everybody in captivity was released and to the glory of God I have achieved that.”
It could be recalled that train services along the corridor was halted due to terrorist attack on March 28 which led to loss of lives and kidnap of some passengers