The Federal Government has announced to passengers hoping to travel the Abuja-Kaduna rail route to forget about it if they have no proof of their National Identification Numbers (NIN).
The Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Sambo disclosed this during an inspection of the rail line over the weekend.
“We have introduced a new system whereby before you purchase a ticket, you will be required to provide a phone number and NIN for us to profile the passenger because that is the beginning of the security checks. So, at any point when a train moves from one station to another, we will know those on board. If you don’t have NIN, you are not going to board a train. It is as simple as that.
“If you are a minor, an adult will pay for you and will register for you and an adult can only register no more than four minors.
“The NIN will take care of racketeering and it is one of the reasons we introduced it. Only one Nigerian is entitled to a NIN and I don’t see how one person will get multiple NINs,” Sambo wondered.
Sambo tasked the general public to adhere to the instructions given to them.
“In any case, at the departure lounge, the profile of the person will have to show and, if it is not shown, you don’t get access. It is as simple as that. If you get 30 tickets, 19 will be useless and your money will be wasted.
“We want to give sufficient time for the Nigerian public to listen to these and assimilate this new system because if we start tomorrow. A lot of people will be disgruntled. They will ask, ‘why didn’t they tell us?’ ‘Is this the new way of doing it?’ ‘Why didn’t they give us adequate time to do it?’ We want to give adequate time. Definitely [it will be up and running] in three, four or five days; certainly, no more than a week.”
Sambo disclosed that measures have been put in place to secure lives and property of people. “A number of measures have been put in place to ensure that life and property will be secured when we resume services and I’m satisfied with what I have seen. Of course, there are one or two areas that need to be addressed and we are going to address them immediately.
“There [is an] increased number of security personnel and, without mincing words, some of the security personnel may not be in uniform to guarantee safety of the travelling public.
“There are other sensitive measures that we have deployed which I will not reveal. Also, on every journey, the train is monitored every second on a screen and the train driver can see up to a certain distance if there is any threat on the track that will enable him to brake long before getting to the perceived threat.”
Sambo further advised that, seeing as there will be reduced traffic on the route: “You should expect that a certain number of passengers will not be comfortable boarding the train for obvious reasons. So, we will reduce the number of trips and, as the travelling population picks up, we will increase the number of trips but we will certainly not travel at night for now.”