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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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NAGAFF Kicks Against Customs’ Informants; Says Ports’ Scanners Fall Short of Stakeholders’ Expectations 



NAGAFF Kicks Against Customs' Informants; Says Ports' Scanners Fall Short of Stakeholders' Expectations 

The 100% Compliance Team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has kicked against the Nigeria Customs Service and its informants, saying that importers lose a lot of money to demurrage through the activities of the latter.

Addressing the press in Lagos on Thursday, the National Coordinator of the Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, frowned at the activities of the informants and other operational hiccups.

Tanko who indicated this also highlighted that the leader of the informants had been identified and the association had declared war on them.   

 However, he said that freight forwarders and Customs agents were not against Nigeria Customs engaging informants but that the cumbersome process involved in the release of seized containers calls for concern.

 Tanko advised that the controller of the command where the seized cargo was released initially should be allowed to exercise power on the final release, not the Abuja authority who might not respond on time while importers are incurring demurrage.

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 “Informants have taken over our job. They pick container numbers either from shipping companies or terminals and send them to the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A which the FOU officers and men on the highways use to arrest our containers. We are not against informants supplying information to Customs, our complaint is about the cumbersome process which the containers are subjected to before final release” Tanko cried out, maintaining that their principals were losing lots of money.

“We want the controller of the port where the cargo was released initially to give the final decision on the release, not the Abuja authority. We have lost a lot of money to demurrage while waiting for the Abuja verdict, which often takes a lot of time to arrive.

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“We have identified the leader of the informants. We have reached out to him and told him that we had concrete evidence against him. He denied any involvement in such act. This guy and his cohorts have caused many of our members to lose a lot of revenue to demurrage. I am a victim. The time is now to declare war on the activities of informants. And we have now declared the war”, he stated further.

He likened the informants to kidnappers and added that the standard of the scanners in the ports fall short of the expectations of the port users especially importers, freight forwarders and Customs agents because the scanners could not identify drugs, arms and ammunition and other security-threat items.

The leader of the Compliance Team advised the federal government to replace the scanners with the ones that can scan and identify hard drugs and weapons. 

“We must have scanners that can detect any incriminating objects. It is not about revenue issue; we should talk more about security,” he also stressed.

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TICT Debunks Alleged Plans to Retrench Workers over Acquisition by MSC



TICT Debunks Alleged Plans to Retrench Workers over Acquisition by MSC

The Tin-Can Island Container Terminal (TICT) on Monday assured workers that it has no plans to embark on any retrenchment exercise, despite the acquisition of the African Logistics business (BAL) of its parent company, Bolloré Group by Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC). 

In a meeting with leaders of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) on Monday, TICT Managing Director, Mr. Etienne Rocher, assured that the acquisition will not have any adverse effect on the jobs and workers of the company. 

“There will be no change in obligations on the part of the company towards employees and vice versa,” Mr. Rocher said. 

He said that all obligations arising from existing contracts with the company will continue to be in force. 

He specifically stressed that the services of TICT workers remain relevant to the company, even after the acquisition. 

Recall that MSC announced in April that it had reached an agreement to acquire 100% of the African logistic business of Paris-based Bolloré Group. The agreement followed exclusive negotiations between the two parties initiated in December 2021. 

MSC’s acquisition of Bolloré Africa Logistics comprises all of Bolloré Group’s transport and logistics activities in Africa, including shipping, logistics, and terminals operations, as well as terminal operations in India, Haiti and in Timor-Leste.

Bolloré Africa Logistics is the biggest transport and logistics operator in Africa with nearly 21,000 employees in 49 countries, including 47 in Africa.

“The acquisition of Bolloré Africa Logistics reaffirms MSC Group’s longstanding commitment to invest in Africa and to strengthen supply chains across the continent, as well as connecting it to the rest of the world,” MSC had said in a statement.

Closing of the deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2023 at the latest.

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PORT SECURITY: NPA, Nigerian Army to Synergize, Protect Authority’s facilities- Bello-Koko



PORT SECURITY: NPA, Nigerian Army to Synergize, Protect Authority's facilities- Bello-Koko

…Takwa Bay to get priority attention***

The Nigerian Ports Authority NPA and the Nigerian Army would synergize, to ensure enhanced safety of life and facilities of the Authority, particularly those around the Takwa Bay corridor.

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello Koko highlighted this, stressing his commitment to collaborate with the nation’s security apparatus, especially the military High Command while receiving the General Officer Commanding, 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Obinna Ajunwa at the NPA Corporate Headquarters in Lagos.

L-R: Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko presenting the Authority’s plaque to the Commissioner of Police Eastern Ports Command, CP Tony Olofu during a working visit of the CP to the NPA Headquarters, Lagos.

The Managing Director stated that the Authority has over the years enjoyed a cordial working relationship with the Nigerian Army whenever there was the need to maintain Law and Order within its corridors.

 He applauded the swift deployment of soldiers to the Authority’s Corporate Headquarters during the Endsars’ imbroglio where protesters who destroyed property belonging to the Authority were arrested and prevented from causing loss of lives. 

Mohammed Koko thanked the Army Chief for the visit, assuring him that the Authority was ready to continue to strengthen the partnership in order to make the Port and the nation safer at all times.

He, however, expressed his regrets to the Army Chief about the illegal activities said to be going on at the Takwa bay corridor. 

Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko (middle), Commissioner of Police Eastern Port Command, CP Tony Olofu (right), GM Security, NPA, Khalil Mohammed (left) during the working visit of the CP to the NPA Headquarters, Lagos.

He recalled that the Takwa bay facility belonged to the Authority and had been Gazetted. A part of the facility was however given to the military for operational exercises but was surprised that the land was being used to carry out a series of illicit activities such as drug distribution and harboring of hoodlums.

Earlier on, General Ajunwa stated that the Military Authorities were at the NPA as part of military tradition of familiarizing with its neighbors such as the NPA. 

He reaffirmed that his personnel would assiduously carry out their core responsibility of protecting lives and property having assumed office in the last three months.

“I assumed duties three months ago. I felt that as part of our training, we should visit installations in my environment and one of them happens to be the NPA. My men are ready to carry out our responsibilities of protecting lives and property at all times’’ 

On the issue of illegal activities at the Takwa bay, Ajunwa further stated that the Command was discussing security-related matters with various Government agencies by way of being proactive in curbing unforeseen circumstances as the yuletide period was fast approaching, coupled with the forthcoming general elections. 

 “We are not expecting any negative scene, but we must plan for unforeseen eventualities,” the GOC said.

’He posited that the area was constantly being raided by his men, but would further ensure that his operatives work with the NPA team to come up with a lasting solution to the issue.

Expatiating further, the NPA General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Mrs. Oyinlola noted in her statement that the GOC whose team comprised other senior military officers were equally received by top NPA management team.

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