The Minister of Transportation, Engr Mu’azu Sambo has said the Abuja-Kaduna train service will not resume on November 28 as anticipated to give passengers enough time to acquaint themselves with the new system.
The minister disclosed this on Sunday while accessing the state of readiness of the Abuja- Kaduna train service.
Sambo said persons without the National Identification Number (NIN) will not be allowed to board the train.
According to the minister, “now, 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. Why didn’t they tell us that this is the new way of doing it? Why didn’t they give us adequate time to do it? So we want to give you adequate time. Definitely between three, four, five days, certainly not more than a week.
“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.
The minister announced that there will be an increase in ticketing fares:
“Please expect some increase in fares. I am having final consultations with management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation and the management of the ministry to see whether it is going to be immediate, or we will take a little time. We all know that things have gone up.
“I can assure you that the poor masses will be taken care of, they will be considered in raising fares,” he said.
He assured that, “a number of measures have been put in place in order to ensure that life and property will be secured when we resume services and I am satisfied with what I have seen. Of course, there are one or two, three areas that need to be addressed. We’re going to address them immediately.
“The only person that can give you the assurance of absolute security is the almighty God. But, having said that, I will tell you that whatever is humanly possible to secure the lives of the users of this service have been put in place and we will continue to upgrade it. We’ll be monitoring it on a daily basis and improve on whatever or wherever we find some slacks.
“That has been put in place, but we are not going to tell you what we have done. It is a security matter and I have no apologies for that,” he said.