In a striking revelation, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidet Okhiria, has unveiled a startling decline in the monthly revenue generated by train services on the Abuja-Kaduna rail line.
The once flourishing income of N500 million has plummeted drastically to a mere N1 million.
This financial blow comes in the wake of a harrowing incident where bandits detonated a bomb on the rail track between Katari and Rijana, immobilizing the Abuja-Kaduna train.
The assailants went further to kidnap passengers, eventually releasing them upon payment of an undisclosed ransom.
Addressing these concerns during an inspection of the Idu train station in Abuja, Okhiria highlighted the purpose of the visit—to address issues raised by the Minister of Transportation, Saidu Alkali.
The matters included concerns over escalators, elevators, and the security personnel’s allowances.
“Prior to the attack, we were generating N500 million monthly. In the aftermath of the incident, our earnings plummeted to a mere one million.
Nonetheless, our commitment remains steadfast to providing essential services for the people,” affirmed Okhiria, underscoring the significance of Minister Alkali’s impromptu visit in identifying operational challenges.
The impact of the security situation has been severe.
The number of return trips was reduced from 10 to 2 per day, operating between 6 am and 10 pm, which has now been scaled back further to 6 pm due to safety concerns.
Okhiria expressed optimism that normalcy would eventually return, allowing them to recommence full operations and regain financial stability.
The Managing Director also touched on outstanding financial obligations, noting, “We have settled two out of the five months of outstanding payments. We are in the process of resolving this matter promptly.
Historically, our record has been one of punctuality in payments when circumstances allow.”
As the Nigeria Railway Corporation grapples with the aftermath of security challenges, including the alarming drop in revenue, the emphasis remains on restoring safety, operational efficiency, and financial viability for the Abuja-Kaduna rail service.