By Dyepkazah Shibyan | Monday 28 June 2021

Some passengers are currently stranded a few kilometres away from the train station in Rigasa, Kaduna state.

According to DAILY TRUST, the train developed a mechanical problem just about five minutes after it took off from Rigasa.

The train was heading for Abuja.

The newspaper quoted an engineer with the Nigerian Railway Corporation as pleading with the passengers over the incident.

The engineer said they had contacted the train station in Idu in the federal capital territory (FCT) for another locomotive to be sent so that the passengers could be conveyed to their destination.

“We are very sorry, the locomotive is faulty,” he said.

“We have contacted the Idu Train Station for another locomotive. It would take them two hours to be here.”

idat Joseph, secretary of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), said the train developed fault around 7:00 am.

“I left my house as early as 5:00 am to join the 6:40am train but unfortunately I have been trapped here in this forest,” Joseph said.

“This is not the first time I will be experiencing this mess.”

Many passengers commuting between Abuja and Kaduna use the train because of kidnapping on the road.

Although cases of abduction have abated, the train is still the preferred choice of passengers who go to Abuja from Kaduna and vice versa.

* Editor’s note: The photo in this report is only for illustration.

Comment:

Operations.  Bane of the Nigerian railway system. We can’t keep doing things the same way and expect a different result. 

Railway is a business. It must be run like one. It must compete and offer consistent and reliable service. A govt agency lacks the capacity and flexibility to engage with the dynamism required in a competitive market place.

 It is an unsustainable situation, regardless of how much money you throw at it, which may only provide temporary respites btw. Ultimately, its downhill in performance. 

The railway environment needs restructuring. It needs independent regulation and Operations concessions. The govt agency should manage railway assets only. It should not manage Operations. It has done so unsuccessfully for 60 years and been bankrupt twice! E no do? It should also not regulate itself. This has grave implications for safety and abuse. 

We’ve been stuck in this rut for 20 years now. Govt after govt has come and talked railway.   Blown billions. Talked reform. Done none…and all we have to show is still a broken railway. 

We are agreed that we know what to do, but biting the bullet..?

We can’t keep doing things the same way and…

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