NRC CONSIDERS REOPENING INTRA-STATE TRAIN SERVICES
Train services may reopen in some states next week to ease movement of people within their respective states as the Federal Government gradually relaxes the restriction order imposed about a month ago to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country. Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr Fidet Okhiria, gave the hint in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Tuesday 28th of April, 2020.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Monday night had approved a phased and gradual easing of the lockdown measures in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states with effect from Monday May 4, 2020. Specifically, the President had said selected businesses could open from 9am to 6pm with an overnight curfew between 8pm and 6am, but a ban on non-essential inter-state passenger travels remained in force until further notice.
He also announced a mandatory use of face masks in public places in addition to maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene. Okhiria said on Tuesday that following the President’s address, the NRC would consider restarting intra-state train operations from next week at the railway districts where such services were feasible. Already, he said, “I’m holding a videoconference with my directors today (Tuesday) to discuss the possibility of reopening the intra-state train services next week.”
The NRC boss said the virtual meeting would discuss the modalities for the train services, adding that the people must be ready to abide by the guidelines including social distancing principle and the use of face masks. He said various railway district managers would be asked to interact with train passengers and other NRC customers in their areas of operation to communicate the decisions of the corporation management to them and get their full commitment before commencing operations. Okhiria also hinted that about 50 per cent of the train capacity would be accommodated during each trip to enforce the social distancing policy among passengers onboard.