The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has lost N531 million in estimated ticket revenue on the Abuja-Kaduna Standard Gauge Train service, between March and August.
This is as a result of the March 28, 2022 attack on the train servicing the route by armed bandits, who abducted several passengers.
This was disclosed by the NRC Managing Director, Engr Fidet Okhiria during a press briefing at the Corporation Headquarters in Lagos, on Wednesday.
He said; “Contrary to rumours in circulation, we have not stopped the Lagos-Ibadan train services, but rather the route operates four train services per day. Also, for Warri-Itakpe, we do two trains per day.’’
“But for the Abuja incident, our hope was that by now, we should be running 10 trips on the Lagos-Ibadan route – five going and five coming.’’
“We were already doing 10 trips per day on the Abuja-Kaduna and thought that by now, it would have increased to 12; six to and six from either end, so that people can properly schedule their movement using the train.’’
“Regrettably, due to inactivity on the Abuja-Kaduna train which was caused by the last terrorist attack, we have recorded a shortfall of N531 million on the Abuja-Kaduna route from March to August 2022. The shortfall is from expected income following the disruption occasioned by the train attack.’’
“While we are trying to resolve that and people are building confidence, we have this astronomical challenge in the cost of diesel – from N300 plus to over N1000/litre.’’
“Due to this, the Lagos-Ibadan route dropped to two because of diesel cost. What we earn cannot pay for diesel.’’
“We have people providing security because of the situation all over the place. We have to hire separate security. We have to pay them, whether the train runs or not. We have to pay light bills, and still have to buy diesel for the generators servicing the stations, among other things despite the inactivity along the Abuja-Kaduna train route and the drop on the Lagos-Ibadan train services.’’
“So you can see that what we earn is also eroded by operational cost even in the midst of challenges.”
“We are currently meeting with some maritime stakeholders, including APM Terminals and ENL Consortium, to ensure that freight runs on the standard gauge from both terminals to Papalanto and Abeokuta before November.’’
“We are working hard to ensure that the access roads and freight yards are properly put in place so that the equipment for rolling stocks is put in place.’’
“We are meeting with some individuals proposing the warehouses and freight yards, and hope that before November we start moving freights on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail,” he added.