Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Ahead of the second Belt and Road Initiative in Beijing, China, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Abuja, on Thursday, showcased the fruits of the initiative in Nigeria. One of the very significant achievements was the Abuja-Kaduna train service built by the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) Limited whose 1000 days safe operation without recording any single accident was celebrated.
The event also included a visit to the Operation Control Center and Rolling Stock Depot of the Abuja Light Rail; a tour of the Light Rail and a visit to the New Terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, also constructed by the CCECC. There were also awards to passengers for patronage.
The Abuja-Kaduna train service commenced commercial operation on July 27, 2016, with a team of CCECC and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC). The CCECC and the NRC have been working vigorously and harmoniously to achieve maximum safety with efficient operation in the past 1000 days since its inception.
With 17 engineers CCECC providing technical support to NRC, apart from recording patronage of over 1,500,000 passengers, the Abuja-Kaduna trains have run at a total mileage of 1,064,915 km, 1000 days safe operation, zero accident, and over 98 percent satisfaction of passengers according to survey.
Speaking during the 1000 days safe operation event held at the Idu Station of the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service, the Managing Director of the NRC, Freeborn Okhiria, said the process has not been easy, but that the NRC was grateful to God that it has marked 1000 days without any accident:
“That does not mean we have not had incidents. We have had incidents, but maybe cows, somebody lying down on the track. We have not really had that derailment because we carry out a lot of checks. And we pray we never have it in our lifetime.
“I said if we don’t try, we will not make progress. And we started. As at today, I think we are overwhelmed that every day, you hear of ticket racketeering. As I have told people, when you have demand above supply, people will die to cut corners. Even the staff are the people who want to travel by train and try to cut corners.”
Managing Director of CCECC, Mr Jiang Yigao, said: “Over 98 per cent passengers are satisfied with the Abuja-Kaduna train service. Abuja-Kaduna-train service is creating a major transportation service to the important industrial city of Kaduna which has improved the investment environment; promote business trade in the cargo airports between the two major cities in the country.”
Chinese Deputy Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Zhao Yong, said the initiative aimed at creating new opportunities for global growth and providing a new platform for fostering closer ties between countries: “Just as emphasised by President Xi, that while the Belt and Road Initiative is launched in China, its benefits should be shared by the world.”