Train service between Port Harcourt and Aba is expected to start shortly, according to the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
The Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Eastern Narrow-Gauge Railway’s rehabilitation came after the construction was completed.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Railway Corporation, Freeborn Okhoria, disclosed this after leading the management team on an inspection of the project site in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
According to Okhoria, “The Ministry and the NRC have been under pressure to deliver this so that the operations can start. They are working hard to ensure that very soon the operations will start.
“When we leave here we are going to meet and map out the timeline when those things will be delivered.
“The point machines are going to be fixed where necessary. We will work together to ensure that we deliver them.”
He said when the Port Harcourt-Aba train operation begins, the corporation will explore means of extending it to Umuahia and Enugu.
“Very soon we will start enjoying train rides from Port Harcourt to Aba while even looking at extending to Umuahia and Enugu.
“We are looking at days at most months because if you don’t start running on this track, you leave it, it will go bad and vandals may take possession.
”So we are now going to meet, and work out a possible plan because we have to synchronise with operations to make sure that when they put it, it is not going to be vandalised,” the NRC MD explained.
While warning against vandalising the project, Okhoria said people would benefit from it and advised those encroaching into the rail line to stay away as work was still ongoing.
On some security measures being taken against vandals, he stated, “Right now, what we are doing is encouraging the relevant security agencies. And it comes at a cost because if a policeman is to do four hours or eight hours, you have stretched him, so we have to pay him for that stretch.
And by the time we run on a regular basis and the track is used, we hope that our people will feel sorry for us and realize that we are here to help them out.
“You should proceed in that manner. It is important that we keep reminding our people that the things they are damaging are their own. None of the following own it: the President, the Governor, the Minister, or the MD. It belongs to us.
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