Following the announcement by the Nigerian government to increase the train fares by 100% for the Abuja to Kaduna service, Nigerians have described the move as “unreasonable and insensitive.”
The Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, had on Saturday while inspecting construction work on the Ikapke to Warri rail line announced the increment as part of conditions for the trains to resume operation owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A former lawmaker representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani, in a tweet on Monday said the increase in fares was unjust, unfair, and insensitive.
Sani said the policy was insensitive because many Nigerians are suffering already due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He also advised the transportation minister to make things easier for the people..
He said, “To the Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, and the ministry, 100% increase in train fare is unjust, unfair, soulless and insensitive.
“Make things easier for the people when you are on top of the rock of power, you will meet with them when you are back to the base of life.”
Another Nigerian, Abdullahi Musa, who spoke with SaharaReporters, described the increment as unreasonable and insensitive, saying it would worsen the plight of Nigerians.
He said, “The decision is not in the interest of the masses at this critical time when COVID-19 has grounded the entire economy.
“It has shown that this government does not have respect for the citizens. So they want to push us back to the road for kidnappers to kill us?”
SaharaReporters gathered before the COVID-19 lock down, travellers paid N3,000 for first-class express trips, while the usual first-class trip was N2,500. The ticket for the express economy trip was N1, 500 while the general economy trip ticket cost N1,300.
Amaechi explained that the reason behind the increment was that the coach previously carried 88 passengers, but when they resume the service, the coach would be taking just 40 passengers.
He said, “Previously, a coach carried 88 passengers, but when we resume the service, a coach will carry just 40 passengers.”
“Passengers must have hand sanitizers and wear face masks at all times during the duration of the train ride.”
The menace of kidnapping along the Abuja-Kaduna road had forced many people to board the trains for safety concerns.
The trains are accompanied by heavy security escort as the kidnappers have also resorted to attacking the passengers on train tracks.