The Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidet Okhiria has revealed that the corporation got applications from 350,000 Nigerians after it placed advertisement for employment opportunities.
Disclosing this during an interview with newsmen recently, Okhiria stated that the corporation was still sorting out the various applications which are expected to fill about 200,000 jobs openings in the NRC.
According to him, “By standard, we should have enough numbers of people to operate a train service. It is the love my staffs have for me that they have been working themselves out for me and for country. Perhaps again, it’s based on the training they’ve received.
“We are supposed to have 8 hours shift for off-days and also weekend staff. But the staffs have been working for more than 8 hours and they even come to work on weekends, although we give them little incentives.
“We expect very soon the junior staff (level 4-5) that will maintain the tracks should be employed. By February, 2017 the other staff should also come. We have about 350,000 applications for 200,000 jobs. So it’s taking time to sort the list. The moment we finish the short listing, we will call for interviews.”
On the movement of freight, the NRC boss explained that, “We have increased our freight from almost zero to a point where we can’t even meet demand. Before now, when we move freight from Lagos to the North, and we used to come back with empty wagons. As I speak now, the demand for wagons from the South to the North is almost as the demand for wagons from the North to the South.
“This is because the management decided to give a little incentive on goods coming from the North to South because most of the goods are livestock and food. The discounts we give on the freight from the North also go a long way to ensure prices of livestock and food from the North is relatively cheap when it gets to the South.
“We move 20 wagons of cargo per train. We are also trying to link Jos with our rail lines because Grand Cereal in Jos is pilling pressure on us to help them move their products to Port Harcourt and Abba.
“We are hoping that in the next one month, we will link Jos. We move fertilizer, cement, containers. We move containers for ICNL to Kaduna and Kano. We move fertilizer for Dangote from the port and we also move goods for Flour Mills. We move cattle, grains and animal feeds from the North.
“On passenger trains, we still maintain what we met but we are making it more comfortable as train transportation is the most comfortable and safest mode of transport. Our flagship, Kaduna-Abuja is doing well. As a professional, I am not happy because we need to run our trains on time basis. We are currently running on schedule basis, but we need to run train services on hourly or every 30 or 15 minutes basis. I am not happy that we run only two return trips on a track that is designed for 6 trains at a time within its 186km length.”