The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) on Monday resumed shuttle services on the Kaduna-Abuja route after about eight months it suspended operations.
Persecondnews correspondent, who monitored the development, reports that the train departed the terminal by 9:45am in Kaduna and arrived at the Idu train station in Abuja at about 10:22am.
To ensure safety of passengers, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Alkali Baba, ordered the immediate deployment of armed personnel drawn from the Police Mobile Force, K-9, Force Intelligence Bureau, Explosive Ordnance Unit and Railway Police Command.
The Nigeria Police Force has been in regular talks with the NRC and other security agencies in preparation for the commencement of operations.
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.
“The IGP therefore assures the public, especially intending passengers, of adequate protection of lives and property, as all hands are on deck to fortify the railway services along the route and other rail lines across the country,” the police spokesman, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said in a statement given to Persecondnews on Monday.
On March 28, 2022 about 7.45 pm, more than 100 passengers on the Kaduna-bound train were kidnapped at Katan near Kaduna by terrorists while at least eight were shot dead.
The terrorists had bombed the rail tracks thereby derailing the train.
The last batch of the abductees were released in October after hundreds of millions of Naira was paid as ransom.
The incident, however, necessitated the NRC to suspend the Kaduna-Abuja train service for about 251 days.
Last week, the Federal Government said it is henceforth mandatory for passengers plying the route to register their phone number and their National Identification Number (NIN) at ticket purchase points.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has disclosed through data published on it verified website that the NRC recorded about 72 percent loss of revenue in the second quarter of 2022, as the revenue dropped by N1.48 billion in the second quarter (Q2) of 2022.
The Managing Director of NRC, Mr Fidet Okhiria said government lost about N113 million to inactivity on the route for over eight months.
The last time we checked that was between the months of February to August. We have lost about N113 million, using what we were earning between January and March as a working document.
Although, when the trains were not 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. So, those were indirect benefits and cost that have been lost to the economy.
“So, we should not only look at the Naira and Kobo that the railway would have made, but include all other losses by Nigerians,” he said.