Barely two months after former President Goodluck Jonathan left office, the new train service between Port Harcourt and Kano executed by his administration has finally commenced operations.
During the commissioning of the new trains, which was carried out in Kano, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC, Adesiyi Asijuwade, said train services in Nigeria was back on track.
The trains will leave Kano to Port Harcourt every Thursday and depart Port Harcourt to Kano every Tuesday. The train will offer a mixed service to various commuters.
The first Kano-Port Harcourt mixed train services was in 1914, mainly transporting both passengers and goods from the north to southern part of Nigeria.
Two 68-seater air conditioned modern first class passenger couches had been put in place to traverse a rail distance of 1,139 km, stretching from Kano to Port Harcourt, with stops at some cities across Kano, Kaduna and Benue among other states in the south.
Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, represented by the Speaker State House of Assembly, Alhassan Doguwa, assured the corporation of the state government’s continued support and patronage.
Also at the event was the Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II who urged the management of the NRC to ensure stability of the train services at an affordable price in order to allow free flow of economic exchange between the south and northern parts of Nigeria.
“We are indeed happy that train services from Kano to Port Harcourt have returned and we pray that Allah will ensure the continuity of the program and may it be a source of our economic strength,” the Emir prayed.
During the British colonial era, train services were regular and one of the best means of transportation in Nigeria, but lack of maintenance of the infrastructure left behind by the colonial masters led to the huge setback we are experiencing in that sector. The setback has forced business owners to rely solely on the use of trucks for the movement of goods from one part of the nation to the other.
The dearth in the sector further affected the movement of agricultural produce from farm settlements that were located in towns where the rail line traverse.
The resuscitation of the train services will no doubt bring smile to the faces of farmers and other commuters who move heavy goods from Kano to states along the rail line and in southern Nigeria.
In view of the ongoing efforts by the NRC, train services are now being resuscitated in phases across Nigeria.
Former President Jonathan had earlier launched a air -conditioned coaches in Lagos.