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140 days after, FG loses N3bn on halted Kaduna-Abuja train service

I closed my shop, laid off staff – Restaurateur Clear terrorists’ cells to ease resumption – Security expert ‘How disruption will affect loan repayment’   By Philip S. Clement, Sunday M. Ogwu & Chris Agabi   The federal government has lost over N3 billion in revenue since it suspended Abuja-Kaduna train services in March, this […]
The post 140 days after, FG loses N3bn on halted Kaduna-Abuja train service appeared first on Daily Trust.

  • I closed my shop, laid off staff – Restaurateur

  • Clear terrorists’ cells to ease resumption – Security expert

  • ‘How disruption will affect loan repayment’

 

By Philip S. Clement, Sunday M. Ogwu & Chris Agabi

 

The federal government has lost over N3 billion in revenue since it suspended Abuja-Kaduna train services in March, this year, Findings by Daily Trust have shown.

Besides, the businesses of hundreds of people who earn livelihood around the railway corridor have collapsed.

The stoppage of the service followed the March 28 attack on Kaduna-bound train which was bombed after explosives planted on the rail track by terrorists went off between the Dutse and Kakau areas of Kaduna State.

The train, which took off from the Idu Train Station in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) hit the explosives about 30 minutes from the Rigasa Train Station in Kaduna.

About 970 passengers were on board the train, out of which the terrorists killed some and abducted over 60 others.

Subsequently, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) announced the indefinite suspension of train service on the Abuja-Kaduna railway line.

Although a number of the passengers have been released after unspecified amounts were paid as ransom, some of them are still languishing in the kidnappers’ den.

Meanwhile, NRC recently reiterated that until all the passengers currently in the custody of the terrorists were released to their families, the Abuja-Kaduna train service would not resume.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Alkali Baba

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba

N3.024bn ticket revenue lost so far

Meanwhile, checks by Daily Trust have shown that for the past 140 days since the train service was suspended, NRC has lost about N3.024bn revenue, which could have been raked from ticket sales.

The coaches, which ply the Abuja-Kaduna rail line have the capacity to carry between 900 and 1,000 passengers per trip.

About eight trips were also recorded daily between Rigasa in Kaduna and Idu in Abuja.

An average economy ticket before the suspension sold between N2, 800 and N3,000 while VIP tickets sold for N6,000. 

A breakdown of daily ticket sales by Daily Trust shows that the NRC makes a minimum of N2.7m per trip at N3,000 a ticket for a train that has the capacity to carry 900 to 1,000 passengers.

Consequently, for the eight trips that the Abuja-Kaduna train does in a day, a total of about N21.6m is realised. Subsequently, this amounts to about N151.1m in seven days (one week).

As such, for the over four months that train services have been suspended, the federal government has lost nothing less than N600m monthly.

Potential losses far beyond tickets – Expert

The potential losses are huge, even far beyond the train tickets, experts said.

Our correspondents report that some other services tied to the train services that have been crippled include shop owners at the train stations, especially Idu, Kubwa and Rigasa.

Some of these small businesses, which are unable to move to other locations outside of the train stations have sacked their staff.

“I closed my shop a day after the train was attacked,” said Halima Abubakar, a restaurateur at the Idu train station in Abuja. 

“Everything has stopped…I asked my staff to go because I am unable to find another place,” she said.

The booming taxi services and pool buses have also been crippled.

Ambrose Alex, a taxi driver at the Idu station called on the government to do the needful.

“We have all been displaced with the closure of the train service. I took a loan to buy my car and was operating from the station. Things are really tough now because some of us are only doing town service instead of shuttle service, which brings more money,” he said.

It was learnt that the NRC is also losing out on rental fees as these businesses will have to be either refunded or be allocated the exact months they have lost since the facility was shut down.

Another significant loss is to the ticketing firm, SevureID Solutions, which got the concession at N900m to operate for 10 years.

Because they are no longer earning on the train service, they may be forced to lay off their staff. They may also have to renegotiate the terms of the deal.

Commenting, Dr Frank Ojiadi, a faculty member at Lagos Business School, and an expert in transportation and logistics, said the continued shutdown of the train service was not only a loss to the government but to citizens who had built an economy around the train corridor.

He said while the risks associated with aviation were there, different from rail transportation, it is unlikely the aviation industry would be shut down for “This long in an event of a terror attack because of many factors.”

He said with the robust insurance packages in aviation and the critical nature of aviation to a country’s economy, the airport won’t remain shut down in perpetuity because of a terror attack.

He advised NRC to ensure its trains across the country are insured.

He explained further that the impacts of the sustained shutdown of the rail service were not economic and social.

On the economic impact, he said the government would lose huge revenues as NRC suffered downtime since no train was running that route. He also said the facilities (tracks and trains) might deteriorate with non-usage.

He noted that “The equipment not being utilised might lead to depreciation. Also, the roads will be pressured more with more usage. The train took so many vehicles off the road.”

He added that more people would be exposed to attacks by terrorists and bandits on the Abuja-Kaduna highway.

On the social impact, he said the train had opened up business activities in the corridor by the locals, especially around the train stations.

He advised that even when the train resumed, it must not run at night as the risks were higher then.

 

‘Clear terrorists’ cells to ease resumption’ 

A security expert, Ibrahim Sani, said it would be suicidal to resume the Kaduna-Abuja train service even if all the captives in the custody of terrorists were released.

“I think some people are just looking at the problem from one angle, it is a serious issue and the government must do the right thing first,” Sani, a retired colonel, said.

“The whole Abuja-Kaduna train corridor is laced with terrorists. For any meaningful return of the train service, which is safer and more convenient, the government must confront the terrorists by uprooting them from their cells.

“The villages must be safe and devoid of fear and I can assure you that with the right political will, the government can do it. Terrorists don’t have the monopoly of violence and it is not that they are coming from the moon to wreak havoc. Their locations are known,” he said.

How disruption will affect loan repayment

Experts have opined that the train service was never run such that it could help service the loan used in erecting the structure.

Tope Fasua, an economist, said, “The project is still being used as a cash cow by unscrupulous Nigerians. It does not look like the government wants to run the rail system in a way that the proceeds help somewhat in repaying the loans for that project.”

He said proceeds from ticket sales were infinitesimal compared to the borrowing, adding that it was a global practice that governments should run rail systems with subsidies to help people get around.

According to Railway Technology, the estimated cost of the Abuja-Kaduna rail project built by China Civil and Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) is about $874m.

China‘s EXIM bank provided $500m as a concessionary loan for the project, while nigeria’s government provided the balance.

The loan from China’s EXIM bank is due to mature in September 2030, with a 2.5 per cent interest rate.

The post 140 days after, FG loses N3bn on halted Kaduna-Abuja train service appeared first on Daily Trust.

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News Update?Osun Governorship Election Petition Tribunal Sitting Begins October 26

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Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal will on October 26 begin a full hearing of the petition filed by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) against the declaration of Senator Ademola Adeleke as governor-elect.

Lifestyle Nigeria reports that the tribunal made this pronouncement after concluding the pre-hearing session on Thursday.

The tribunal was asked to dismiss the applications of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), seeking the discontinuation of the petition brought to it by Governor Oyetola.

Counsel for Oyetola and the APC, Lasun Sanusi, SAN, at the sitting of the tribunal argued that Adeleke’s, PDP’s and INEC’s reliance on a Federal Court High judgment was nothing but an abuse of court process.

Sanusi argued this while replying to separate applications of the trio, seeking the dismissal of the petition based on the already appealed Federal High Court judgment disqualifying Oyetola from contesting the election.

Citing Supreme Court decisions in the case of Jegede Vs INEC, 2021, 14NWLR, Pt 1797, page 409, the counsel said the court had ruled that the signatories to the letter conveying the nomination of a candidate were not the nominators; rather, the nomination was done by party members at the congress, hence, the judgment could not stand.

Meanwhile, the counsel for INEC, Prof. Paul Ananaba, SAN; counsel for Adeleke, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN and counsel for the PDP, Dr. Alex Izinyon, SAN, agreed that any decision the tribunal would take on the matter would have to wait until the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court decided on it.

They noted that they just decided to argue the applications to have it on record, a position which the tribunal agreed with and put on record.

Also, in other applications totalling nine by the three respondents, they asked the tribunal to strike out some paragraphs of the petition on the grounds that they were either lumped together or not related to the 2022 election.

In response to each of the applications, Sanusi said all the cases cited by the respondents were misconceived, adding that they were not applicable in the instance case.

He cited the case of INEC Vs Otti, 2016, 8NWLR, where the Supreme Court hinted that INEC was supposed to be neutral, arguing that all the processes filed before the panel have not portrayed the commission’s neutrality.

Sanusi further argued that the applications filed by the respondents were only meant to prevent the tribunal from focusing on hearing the petition on merit, asking the panel to dismiss the applications.

Subsequently, counsel for all parties in the matter agreed to begin the full hearing starting with the calling of witnesses on October 26.

In his ruling, the tribunal declared the pre-hearing session concluded and announced that the pre-hearing conference report would be presented on October 17.

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Politics?Why Nigerian Author, Chimamanda Adichie Rejected National Honour From President Buhari – Aide

Latest Politics updatein nigeria

 

Lifestyle Nigeria gathered that award-winning Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who was recently decorated with Harvard University’s iconic W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, has broken her silence over her non-appearance at Tuesday’s conferment of national honours by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Putting the records straight, a member of Chimamanda’s communications team, Omawumi Ogbe, told newsmen that the author declined the honour.

Ogbe said in a statement: “Following the recent conferment of national awards by the President, there have been conflicting reports about one of the announced recipients, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Some social media users say the award-winning writer rejected the award, while others say she accepted it.

“The author did not accept the award and, as such, did not attend the ceremony. She, however, did not want to create undue publicity around it, so her non-acceptance was conveyed privately,” Ogbe said.

While conferring the award on 450 Nigerians and foreigners, President Buhari had justified the honours, saying the awardees had distinguished themselves in the service of the nation and humanity.

“We have among the recipients today, Amb. Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who are doing our country proud on the international scene,” Buhari said. “Our dear sisters are a source of inspiration to our young women that through the dint of hard work and dedication, they can achieve greatness.”

This is not the first time an honouree will turn down a national honour from a Nigerian president.

Late Prof. Chinua Achebe, the world-acclaimed Nigerian literary giant and author of Things Fall Apart, rejected the national honours award in 2004 and 2011, leading to an uproar at that time.

Achebe said he rejected the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) award because he was dissatisfied with the handling of the country’s affairs by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration. In 2011, Achebe rejected the same award from the Goodluck Jonathan administration, saying the reasons for rejecting the offer when it was first made in 2004 had not been addressed.

Also, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, foremost human rights activist and lawyer, also rejected the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) conferred on him in 2008 by the Umaru Yar’Adua administration.

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Politics?Buhari approves 12,000 metric tons of grains for flood victims

Latest Politics updatein nigeria

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved 12,000 metric tons of grains for victims of flood across the country. Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Habib Ahmed, disclosed this in Abuja yesterday during the 2022 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction. DSS DG’s son body shames Teni for ‘disrespecting’ Buhari Buhari seeks collective action against threats […]
The post Buhari approves 12,000 metric tons of grains for flood victims appeared first on Daily Trust.

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved 12,000 metric tons of grains for victims of flood across the country.

Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Habib Ahmed, disclosed this in Abuja yesterday during the 2022 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.

DSS DG’s son body shames Teni for ‘disrespecting’ Buhari

Buhari seeks collective action against threats in the Gulf of Guinea

He said NEMA was also sending out relief materials.

He said though the flood in Lokoja, Kogi State, was affecting the transportation of the materials, security agencies had been alerted to ensure the materials were successfully conveyed.

Ahmed said the heavy impact of the flood disaster across the country this year was because communities ignored early warnings.

He said the Federal Government alerted states and local government areas about the dangers ahead of the flood and used risk mapping to identify vulnerable areas that would be affected, but the warnings were not heeded to.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouk, represented by Director, Humanitarian Department, Ali Grema, said the scale of devastation caused by this year’s floods could only be compared to the 2012’s. 

“More than 500 lives have been lost, more than 1.4m persons affected, about 90,000 homes both partially or completely destroyed and still counting. 

“And also destroyed are thousands of hectares of farmland; thus worsening fears of a disruption of food supply in Africa’s most populous country These widespread cases are in 27 out of 36 States and the FCT.”

She urged communities to take climate predictions and flood outlooks warnings seriously, noting that all disasters as local.

“As we reflect on the present flood situation in nigeria, let’s consider the focus of the 2022 IDDRR. Did we not have enough warnings or was our predictions and flood outlook wrong? Did we not act enough to prevent or mitigate what we’re confronted with today? While we shall not apportion blames, we need to acknowledge the fact that we all had enough warning and our advocacy was timely. We can’t outright eliminate flood but we can keep people safe. That responsibility is collectively ours.”

She recalled that in September, the Federal Executive Council had approved the National Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan developed by an inter-ministerial committee.

 

The post Buhari approves 12,000 metric tons of grains for flood victims appeared first on Daily Trust.

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