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NRC: E-ticketing is the way to go



NRC: E-ticketing is the way to go

… Says Nigeria will be linked by rail, plans to train staff on Customer Relations***

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has reiterated the importance of the e-ticketing platform in the purchasing of tickets across the country, saying it’s the way to go.

Mr Fidet Okhiria, NRC’s Managing Director, made this known in an interview with the newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.

”E-ticketing is the way to go.

Also read: NRC suspends 8 a.m. train ride

We have started and we have made significant progress in Kaduna -Abuja train service and we are also working on the Itape-Warri and Lagos-Ibadan and it is at a very advanced stage.

“I think the next stage is closing by next Monday.

With the ICRC (Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission) guiding us, I think we hope to deliver that very soon; maybe by March.

The e-ticketing will be introduced on the other routes except for the narrow gauge.

”With the e-ticketing, interactions with people will reduce, you buy your ticket and you don’t have any reason to interact with anybody and with the ticket you can have access to the train.

”Right now in Abuja, that frequent trouble that we used to have has gone down, but being who we are, people still try to find a way not to use the electronic platform.

”They will come and meet staff and approach people who they think may have tickets to sell to them and yet they will be shouting ticket racketeering.

”So, we think the electronic platform is the way to go and we want to encourage Nigerians on that.

On security, Okhiria explained that a lot of measures had been put in place to ensure the safety of lives and the train.

He said: ”We have a lot of DSS who are working un-noticed and most of the time we have information before hand and we pass it to the appropriate quarters.

“We have increased the number of people we have on the train both the Civil Defense, the Police both uniform and non-uniformed, those armed and not armed.

”You cannot guarantee everything, but we are hoping that with what has been put in place, things will be better; And we are taking security issues at the very highest level.

In the same vein, the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr Fidet Okhiria, has expressed hope that the country, within the next five to 10 years would be linked by rail.

Okhiria told the newsmen on Sunday that this would be achieved in line with the determination and will of the present administration.

He added that the Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi was also making endless and tireless efforts to ensure the country’s rail network was expanded to better serve Nigerians.

”I think in five years we will be hoping that somebody can leave Lagos and get to Abuja within eight hours by rail.

”We have several projects on the eastern axis, and all those contracts have been signed but the finance people are looking for the funds to ensure the contractors move to sight.

”We also have the contract from Calabar to Lagos, the coastal rail, we also have the Itape-Warri, being completed to link from Itape to Abuja.

”So if you link Itape to Abuja, it means people can leave Warri to Kano because the Kano-Kaduna is presently ongoing, formation is being put in place and with the timeline, we are hoping that by December this year the track would have been laid.

”Also the eastern line has an expansion that when it gets to Benin it will come to Agbor, Agbor to Onitsha , Onitsha to Awka, Awka to Enugu and to Abakaliki.

”And we also have plans to link the deep sea in River State and then link Owerri and come back to Enugu. And from Damaturu we also do the one going to Maiduguri, we just hope that the economy improves and we’re able to get funding,” Okhiria said.

On the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), he said the country could benefit largely from the agreement with the correct policies and programmes.

He said: ”If we champion the market and we are able to extend, so that we have road, rail, the economy can move smoothly and you have an easy rating of goods and services.

”And with rail being the cheapest means and the safest way to go about it, I think we are on the right part.”

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) said one of its cardinal programmes for 2022 was to train its staff on customer relations.

Mr Fidet Okhiria, NRC’s Managing Director, disclosed this in an interview with the newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.

Okhiria commended NRC staff for maintaining high discipline when carrying out their responsibilities.

He however said more training especially in customer relations was necessary to help the staff relate more and better with customers/passengers.

”An average railway person compared to other areas are much disciplined and we try to maintain that.

However, we are still going for massive training on customer relations and that is one of our cardinal programmes for this year.

”So now that we are modernising, we have to train our people on how to relate with not just the average Nigerian but the masses.

”They need to know how to talk to people without offending them and not also bringing themself down in the process.

”So, it is one of the cardinal programmes we are doing this year to train our people on customer relations.

”So, as we meet a lot of people and people with different characters/ expectations, we will be equipped with the right approach on how to go about them and meet their expectations.

At Daura Transport University, Okhiria explained that work was still in progress, adding that all things being equal, the project could be completed and admission would commence in 2022.

”It is going down well, the minister is going there again to see how far they have gone, I am hoping this year admission will also start.

”Don’t forget, 150 people have been sent abroad to be trained who will be the trainees trainer that will come in with the foreign partners to kick start the University.

”So, I think we are on the right path and hope to achieve this very soon.

Hopefully this year, there will be admitted to that university,” Okhiria said.

The NRC boss, however, said the kickoff of the University also depended on the collaboration of the ministry and that of the Ministry of Education, to ensure that appropriate standards were maintained.



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LTT: FEC approves management Contract renewal; approves N95.8bn for Ekiti, Ondo Roads



LTT: FEC approves management Contract renewal; approves N95.8bn for Ekiti, Ondo Roads

The efficiency of the nation’s ports, particularly those in Lagos are set to get better, as the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approves two memoranda in respect of matters pertaining to the efficient performance of the Nigerian Ports Authority.

The Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, confirmed this, at the end of the Council meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja, putting the cost of the first at $29,871,615.22. 

Stated the Minister: ”The first memo was the renewal of the management contract for the management of Tugs, Pilot Cutters or Mooring Launches within the limits of Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports complex.

”This management contract was signed between Nigerian Ports Authority and Messrs LTT Coastal and Marine Services Limited, initially in April 2007, for a period of 15 years, which therefore meant the agreement had expired March last year.

”So the purpose of the memorandum is to seek Council’s approval to renew the management contract, as provided in the management agreement and endorsed by the Bureau of Public Procurement, in favour of Messrs LTT Coastal and Marine Services Limited, for the sum of $29,871,615.22.

LTT: FEC approves management Contract renewal; approves N95.8bn for Ekiti, Ondo Roads
Minister of Transportation, MU’AZU JAJI SAMBO

”This is an equivalent of N12,440,332,875.44, inclusive of 7.5% VAT, at an exchange rate of one US dollar to N416.46

”The second memorandum that was considered by Council and approved is in respect of a contract for the design, construction and supply of two 80 tons marine tugboats in order to support the operations of the newly commissioned Lekki Deep Seaport in Lagos.”

The FEC also approved N95.8 billion for dualization of Akure/Ita Ogbolu – Iju/Ado Ekiti road, linking Ekiti and Ondo States.

Minister of State for Works and Housing, Umar El-Yakub, while speaking on this, stated the first section of the road project on the Ondo side was awarded to two construction companies at the cost of N46.6 billion.

He said that the remaining balance of N49.2 billion would be expended on the second section of the project from Ekiti state border.

”The Ministry of Works and Housing presented a memo for the consideration and approval of Council.

”This is for the award of contract for the dualization of the Akure/Ita Ogbolu –Iju/Ado Ekiti state border, on the Ondo State side.

”In favour of Messrs Samchez Nigeria Limited and Messrs Horizon Construction Company Limited, in the sum of N46,684,481,745.44, with a completion period of 24 months.

”The section two of that road was awarded to Messrs Kopek Construction Limited at the cost of N49,295,088,593.98, with a completion period of 30 months.

”So, one is doing it from the Ekiti State border and the other one is on the Ondo Stateside. That’s the two sections of the contract that was awarded.”

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, also said that the Council approved N2.24 billion for the construction of a 150-room capacity female hostel, at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, Kaduna State.

He said: ”On behalf of the Minister of Aviation, who presented a memo to Council today, seeking Council’s consideration and approval for the award of contract for the construction of a 150-room capacity female hostel, at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria.

”The contract was in favour of Messrs Best Homes Construction Limited, in the sum of N2,244,713,424.56, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a completion period of 12 months.”

The minister also revealed that the Council approved N383.9 million for the procurement of 13 operational vehicles for the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).

According to him, the operational vehicles will be used for the day-to-day operations of the FRCN.

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Port Task Team Saves N5.4bn in vessel demurrage



Port Task Team Saves N5.4bn in vessel demurrage

…Bala says the removed extortion checkpoints have returned to port corridor*** 

The Port Standing Task Team (PSTT), from 2021 to 2022, averagely saved the nation’s economy, the sum of N5.4 billion ($12,350), in terms of demurrage, from vessels.

The National Coordinator, PSTT, Mr. Moses Fadipe, said this at the enlarged meeting of the Presidential Port Standing Task Team (PPSTT)  on Wednesday in Lagos.

Fadipe said that the amount represented an average of $20,000 per vessel demurrage per day.

He attributed the feat to the interventions of the PSTT in restoring order along the port corridors and ports logistics ring.

Fadipe noted that through the interventions of the PSTT, over 85 percent of vessels that came through the nation’s ports and terminals left without incident in 2021.

“Some others are drastic reduction in incidences of extortions by both state and non-state actors, and freer movement of vehicles and persons along the ports’ logistics ring.

“Even though revenue generation is not the primary concern of the task team, deterrence through fine is one of the tools through which we are able to record our successes of “Operation Free the Port Corridors”.

“In the process, revenues to the tone of N1,023,000 have accrued to the Federal Government Treasury Single Account through fines,” he said.

Fadipe said that the activities of the task team was a positive barometer, showing the team’s contribution to the actualisation of the objectives of Executive Order 1 on ease of doing business in Nigeria as enshrined through the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM).

He, however, expressed optimism that the successes would be sustained with good strategies of consolidation aimed at surpassing the previous gains.

Fadipe pointed out that their achievements did not come without occasional hazards such as assaults on personnel of the task team, which were carried out by private operators and high-ranking government officials.

He noted that their operation was an offshoot of the implementation of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) which successful implementation should change the corruption perception index by Transparency International about Nigeria.

On the issues of touting along the port corridor and other complaints, Fadipe assured the stakeholders that it would be addressed in less than 30 days starting from April 3.

“It is important to consciously partake in proffering effective and sustainable solutions in partnership like this. I am confident that today’s meeting whose objective is to review activities in 2022 and strategies for 2023, will come up with strong resolutions going forward.

“Operation Free the Port Corridor is an action plan put in place by the collaborative efforts of the Federal Government agencies and private stakeholders in the port supported by the Federal Ministry of Transportation to rid the port corridors of impediments and corrupt practices.

“It was realised that stoppage of trucks along the port corridor constitutes the biggest encumbrance to the free flow of traffic and this breeds extortion and corrupt practices,” he said.

Fadipe said that the Federal Ministry of Transportation had on April 14, 2022, flagged off the exercise to remove all illegal checkpoints and shanties along the port corridor to eliminate traffic gridlock and corrupt practices and impediments to ease of doing business.

“On strategies for the year, we will not dwell on challenges, we focus on the best we can do to achieve what we can within the resources in our disposals. This is the spirit that we will continue with,” he said.

Some of the stakeholders who commented during the meeting decried the activities of touts, and non-state and state actors along the port corridor, urging the PSTT to look into it.

Commenting, Mr. Mohammed Bala, from the Association of Maritime Truck Owners, while appreciating the efforts of the task team said that the extortion checkpoints that were removed had returned on the port corridor.

“The touts have technically crossed to the inbound section of the port access road and causing so much havoc there.

“Truckers are profusely bleeding due to the activities of these people. From Mile 2 down to Second Gate, these touts are littered there,” he said.

In his own contribution, Mr. Aloga Ogogbo, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, said that the extortion was now taking place at odd hours.

Ogogbo urged the task team to extend their operations to cover the odd hours that the touts operate.

Responding to the issues raised, Mr. Dennis Idoko, Head of Legal Department, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, assured stakeholders that the commission would work within its power to meet the objectives of the team.

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NIMASA Donates Vehicles to MWUN; Union says Jamoh deserves a Second Term



NIMASA Donates Vehicles to MWUN; Union says Jamoh deserves a Second term

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA has donated two vehicles to the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, while the two bodies restated their commitment to continuous stakeholders’ engagement as effective tool for peace sustenance, which the nation’s maritime sector has enjoyed in recent years.

NIMASA Director General Dr. Bashir Jamoh, and the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju both made the assertion in Lagos at the ceremony where the vehicles were handed over to the Union as part of the Agency’s Corporate Social Responsibility. The vehicles are a 16-seater bus and one Hilux.

Dr. Bashir Jamoh applauded the union for adopting dialogue in ensuring and maintaining peace in the maritime sector, which he said has aided the peace and industrial harmony witnessed in the sector leading to the successes recorded.

In his words “In the past few years, the maritime industry has experienced relative peace and harmony, which has been made possible through the instrumentality of the leadership of MWUN. NIMASA is committed to ensuring the union is equipped with adequate facilities needed to perform their duties judiciously”.

He also charged the Union to continue to support the policies and instruments of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), towards ensuring better welfare and decent work for the seafarers.

“We acknowledge that you have done so much in championing the cause for better wages for Dockworkers, Seafarers and other labour components in the maritime sector.

“We urge you to continue your stakeholders’ engagement in achieving implementation of international labour laws to achieve better welfare in consonance with international best practices for workers in the maritime sector”. 

Furthermore, the DG assured that the Agency would complete the renovation of the headquarters of the Union in order to give them a befitting habitation.

*Savouring the wonderful moment: Comrade Adewale Adeyanju and the DG in a drive…

On his part, the Ibadan Prince and MWUN President General, Comrade Adeyanju expressed the gratitude of the union to the Management of NIMASA, and assured that they will continue to work closely with the various stakeholders in the sector to ensure continuous progress.

He also urged Terminal Operators, Government Agencies and other major maritime players to emulate NIMASA in the discharge of their CSR Projects.

The MWUN President General who is also the National Vice President of the Nigerian Labour Congress commended the leadership of NIMASA under Dr. Jamoh urging the Federal Government to consider a second tenure based on performance.

“We will continue to play the role of stabilizing the sector. The era of confrontation in the maritime sector is gone, as we have embraced dialogue, which has ensured sustained peace and harmony. The leadership of NIMASA under Bashir Jamoh has excelled in staff welfare, regular staff promotion, and attending to the needs of stakeholders.

“Based on performance, Jamoh deserves a second term in office; his achievements speak volume. You made dialogue a way of life here at NIMASA and resolving labour-related issues have been seamless under your leadership.

“We have had good DG’s in the past, but Jamoh is exceptional.

“We have been watching you and we know you have a track record of fulfilling your promises; we charge you to continue as the union will continue to support the humanitarian policies of your Management”, Adeyanju stated further.

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