Managing Director (MD) of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria has said security operatives are involved in ticket racketeering in the agency.
Gatekeepers News reports that Okhiria said this at an interactive session organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance on the 2024-2026 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) on Wednesday.
Some staff members of the NRC who engaged in fraudulent dealings by smuggling passengers into trains and collecting cash from passengers without remitting the funds to official coffers were exposed in October.
Following this, the NRC announced that it would crack down on the perpetrators, and also introduced an e-ticketing platform to tackle the menace.
At the interactive session on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Committee, James Faleke, queried Okhiria about the accuracy of the report of ticket racketeering at NRC stations.
Okhiria, while responding said, “It is true. Very true”.
“The solution to that is to introduce the e-ticket which we have done. The government has approved and we have deployed them.”
Okhiria stressed that security operatives — police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) attached to NRC stations are also involved in ticket racketeering.
He said, “Even with that, it is not just (our) staff, the security people we engage.
“We have a video. Thank God we have cameras. So, we are dealing with the commissioner to bring his men and civil defence (operatives) to book. They collaborate with our staff.”
Okhiria noted that aside from e-ticketing, another measure deployed by NRC is to ensure that those who board the train without following through the right process don’t get to their destination.
The NRC boss said, “But now what we are trying to do, which our law and our act permit us to do, is to drop the people (passengers) at the next available station.
“So, we dropped more than 50 passengers at Agbor last Sunday. I think with that they are learning their lessons.”
Okhiria said officials who engage in ticket racketeering are punished, adding that while some staff members are demoted, others are sacked.
He said, “Some have been sacked, some have been demoted — depending on their gravity.”
According to him, insecurity, especially on the Abuja-Kaduna route has affected the trip on the axis, impacting NRC’s revenue.
The MD of NRC said there has been a decline in revenue on the Abuja, Kaduna route from N520 million monthly to N150 million since the terrorist attack on the train.
Okhiria added that trips were also reduced to two from five everyday.