A surprising turn of events has unfolded as Mr. Fidet Okhiria, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), is slated to undergo disciplinary proceedings due to allegations of mismanagement and operational discrepancies regarding the highly popular Abuja-Kaduna train service.
In light of these concerns, Okhiria and his management team are scheduled to appear before Transportation Minister Saidu Alkali to provide insights into the operations of Nigeria's oldest public corporation, the railway. This briefing is set to take place at the Bukar Dipcharima House in Abuja today.
The decision to hold Okhiria accountable was announced during an impromptu visit by the Transport Minister to the Abuja Train Station of the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service (AKTS) earlier in the week. The objective of the visit was to directly assess the situation at the nation's standard gauge flagship, which commenced commercial operations in 2017.
Citing ongoing reports of consistent train delays, safety apprehensions, and passengers' generally unsatisfactory experiences, the Minister declared that Okhiria would need to personally address the identified shortcomings and convincingly explain why he should avoid facing disciplinary actions.
In the Minister's own words, "The goal is to achieve President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's agenda of Renewed Hope. When the visit is scheduled, they can take measures to address certain issues because they are aware of your impending inspection."
The Minister's first-hand observation disclosed that some coaches' toilet facilities were nonfunctional. He also received complaints from security escorts about unpaid allowances over the last five months. This situation prompted the Minister to highlight the inoperable lifts and escalators that hinder elderly and disabled individuals from utilizing the train service.
Hence, Okhiria is anticipated to provide a satisfactory explanation to prevent disciplinary actions. According to the Minister, "Seeing is believing, as I have seen for myself. He would explain why disciplinary action wouldn’t be taken against him."