Monday marked the official start of operations at the Abuja-Kaduna train station after eight months of suspension due to terrorists attack.
In March, a passenger train along the route was targeted by terrorists which resulted in fatalities, kidnapping and injuries of passengers. Since then, the victims have been released in batches; the final 23 were set free in October
On Monday, operations resumed with the first train leaving the Rigasa Train Station in Kaduna to Abuja by 8:00 am. The first train also departed the Idu Train Station in Abuja to Kaduna State by 9:45 am. The Kaduna-Abuja bound train arrived at the Idu Train Station exactly at 10:22 am.
According to the NRC, identity verification devices will be used at each train station on the route for its officials to verify the validity of the identities of passengers.
On Sunday, the Inspector-General of police, Usman Baba, ordered the deployment of armed personnel to safeguard the Abuja-Kaduna rail service.
“The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, psc(+), NPM, NEAPS, FDC, CFR, has ordered immediate deployment of armed personnel drawn from the Police Mobile Force, K-9, Force Intelligence Bureau, Explosive Ordnance Unit and Railway Police Command for the commencement of railway services along Abuja/Kaduna rail lines on Monday 5th December 2022,” according to a statement from the police.
“The deployment covers major railway stations along the route and operational coaches to provide adequate security for passengers, their property, and the entire service in order to prevent any unforeseen incidence,” it added.
Furthermore, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, has said the government lost about N113 million to inactivity in the route for over eight months.Okhiria disclosed this yesterday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He also said many Nigerians also incurred some losses indirectly due to the halt of operations on the route.
“Although, when the trains were working, there were a lot of other businesses that were going on.“There were people selling on the train; there were people selling around the stations, and there were people that had opened shops and people were patronising them because the trains were running.
“So, those were indirect benefits and cost that have been lost to the Nigerian economy. More so, somebody, who would have travelled from Kaduna to Abuja via train for some form of transaction and couldn’t make it because the trains were not running would have also lost something
“The economic benefits are also lost; so, we should not only look at the Naira and kobo that railway would have been able to make from it, but include all other losses by Nigerians.”