The Nigerian Railway Corporation has disclosed that there is a possibility that 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.
The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr Fidet Okhiria, gave the hint in a telephone interview.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, 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 9 AM to 6 pm with an overnight curfew between 8 PM and 6 AM, but a ban on non-essential inter-state passenger travels remained in force until further notice.
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.
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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 on board.