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Insecurity: Railway workers give conditions to restart Abuja-Kaduna train services

By Benjamin Alade
25 November 2022   |   4:02 am
Nigerian Union of Railway Workers (NUR) has said its workers would not be allowed to operate the Abuja-Kaduna train service, if security measures are not put in place.

Nigerian Union of Railway Workers (NUR) has said its workers would not be allowed to operate the Abuja-Kaduna train service, if security measures are not put in place.

President-General, NUR, Innocent Ajiji, made the disclosure to The Guardian while speaking on the level of preparedness for the resumption of the train service.

The Federal Government on Monday announced that the Abuja-Kaduna train services would resume services this month.

Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, made this known at a press briefing organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture in Abuja.

But Ajiji said the level of preparedness for security apparatus is not well known to them.

He said: “While they are doing this, they are not carrying us along. Therefore, we are watching them to say that they are prepared. Once they pronounce that, we will assess what is on ground. If we are satisfied with it, we will allow our members to go on with the train, but if we are not satisfied, no member would be allowed to work on the train.”

Speaking on the unbundling of the railway, he said: “It is just a media statement that we heard from the Minister like every other person. The Minister has not granted us audience so we can discuss properly. We have written several times requesting for a meeting, but he has not responded. That statement, as far as I am concerned, is still a media statement because we are not seeing it as a mission that has materialised.”

Also speaking with The Guardian, President-General, Senior Staff Association (SSA), Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Marcel Okeke, said the association has not been briefed on the resumption of the Abuja-Kaduna train service.

Okeke said: “We just heard it in the news just like you; we are still waiting to be briefed. It will be better for me to answer only after we have been briefed.”

On the unbundling of the NRC, he said: “We are still waiting. In fact, our own is that whatever thing they want to do, the workers must be paid off completely. We don’t want our workers to be handed over to anybody. We are not stopping them, but everybody must be paid off completely.

“But you also know that we have the 1958 railway Act. It is still the same. It has not been renewed. That Act stops the Minister from doing that unless he goes to the National Assembly to change it.

“For now, we are still keeping our fingers crossed. The Minister himself has not consulted the union just like the issue of starting or running the train. We ourselves heard it in the news; same thing with the unbundling. All these would have been in a good condition if the Minister had approached the workers through the union leaders, then we would be in a better position to give a definite answer to the question.”