North-South train services remain grounded, 3 weeks after

NRC Train

Contrary to the earlier promise of two weeks to restore train services from south to north, the ongoing repair work by the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) is yet to be completed, findings have shown.

The NRC had embarked on the construction of a temporary bridge following the recent washout of Mokwa-Jebba Bridge linking the south to the north in Niger state.

“Within the next two weeks, we are hoping that we should be able to resume train services from the north to south”, Managing Director of NRC, Engr. Fidet Okhiria had said on June 17.

However, checks as at Sunday evening indicate that work is yet to be completed on the temporary bridge being constructed by the corporation while the train services are yet to be restored on the axis.

Both passenger and cargo trains coming from the south are still unable to move beyond Jebba in Kwara State and those coming from the north cannot move beyond Mokwa in Niger.

The NRC is estimated to have lost close to N100m as the losses keep increasing on a daily basis due to the delay in constructing the temporary bridge.

The MD could not be reached for comment yesterday while PRO of the corporation, Mall. Mahmoud Yakubu did not reply the text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.

However, Director of Operations,  Niyi Ali said the temporary repair work is ongoing, promising to provide update on Monday (today).

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has been called upon to fast track the repair of the bridge which has stalled economic activities in the Southwest as traders and cattle dealers lament the inability to seamlessly transport their products.

Following the collapse of the bridge, movement of heavy duty vehicles conveying farm produce from north to south had been virtually grounded.

Some traders from Abeokuta complained over the weekend that it had been difficult transporting their products like onions, pepper, among others from the northern part of the country. The development was said to have skyrocketed prices of the items.

Also, cattle dealers in Lagos said they have been moving their cattle through Abuja since the bridge collapsed at a great cost and loss.

Secretary of Miyyeti Allah Cattle Breeders in Lagos, Alhaji Maikudi Usman said their cattle now spend five days on the road instead of 24 hours if they had made use of Mokwa- Jebba axis, lamenting that many cattle had been lost in the process.

“We are appealing to the Federal Government to ensure timely completion of the bridge to reduce our losses”, he said.

..