Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State says security is not an issue on the Abuja-Kaduna rail service but that of people obeying the Federal Government’s COVID-19 guidelines.
El-Rufai said it was also appropriate to increase fares along the route, noting that the tickets' prices were too low.
He said the low prices was what led to the racketeering.
“If you come to buy the tickets, you can’t get it. You have to buy it from a middle man, and it’s twice the price.
“So, why shouldn’t the government capture that? So, it is quite right, and I fully support the decision by the Federal Government to increase the fares,” the News Agency of Nigeria quoted him to have said.
He added, “In fact, the fares should even be slightly higher than this to make it difficult for middlemen to come in between.
“I have also appealed to the Nigerian Railway Corporation and the Minister to computerise and make electronic the purchase of the tickets, to cut out middlemen.
“The train is secure, the train is well protected, even the Abuja-Kaduna highway is well protected, and there has not been a kidnapping case there since October last year.
“So, I’m not worried about security. What I want to appeal to people that will use the train is to ensure that they keep physical distancing, wash their hands as the COVID-19 is still very much around.
“Infections are rising and the fastest way to get it is a congested train.
“So we must be very careful, we must not insist on going on the train if it is up to the capacity and everyone must wear his face mask before entering the train, throughout the train ride and after.
“That is what I will appeal to everyone because this disease is still with us, we have not reached the peak and when we reach the peak it comes down and there is likely to be a second wave."