Fidet Okhiria, Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has ordered the resumption of operations on abandoned Eastern Railways.
Okhiria, an engineer, gave the order on Friday while speaking during the commissioning of the Railway Hospital, Enugu, renovated and equipped by GIBC Digital from United States of America (USA).
The NRC boss blamed vandals who were removing railway tracks and other equipment for the inactivity in the Eastern Railway line.
Okhiria also said he was ashamed that railway workers in the East were not doing any work, yet, they were being paid.
“I do not know why you (staff) will be here and our tracks and other equipment are being removed. The other time, our locomotives were coming from Port Harcourt to Enugu and fell into a place where there was no track. We have spent time and money, up till now, we have not recovered them.
“If it is Enugu money, they will come to Abuja and collect it. Yet, train is not running. A challenge has been thrown to us. I am throwing it to the staff. If the coaches are here, it is your duty to make them work. It is faster to go to Port Harcourt from Enugu by rail. Those days we used to call it Adamma,” Ikhiria said.
On the commissioning of Enugu Railway Hospital, he noted the facility across the country occupy a special position in the heart of the NRC management, stressing that issues relating to the life, good and quality healthcare of railway staff and their dependents should not be toyed with by any right thinking human being.
“The nature of some of the duties performed by our staff is very tedious and hence requires quality and prompt medicare. So, when the management was informed of the plans and programmes of GIBC for Railway Hospital in Enugu, we welcomed them with open hearts and hands.
“The management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, and by extension, the Federal Government of Nigeria, hereby extend a longer hand of fellowship to GIBC so that together we can take this relationship and healthcare of workers of the corporation to the next level,” he said.
In a goodwill message, Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma of the Enugu Ecclesiastical Province of Anglican Church of Nigeria, challenged the Enugu State government to rehabilitate the dilapidated road, leading to the Railway Hospital, Enugu.
“I also have a challenge for the Federal Government. People now travel from Abuja to Kaduna on rail. People travel from Lagos to Ibadan. What is happening to Enugu-Port Harcourt? You want to care for this people (railway staff) because they are idle. Idleness makes people sick. The rail must be active now from Enugu to Port Harcourt,” Chukwuma said.
Emeka Udeze, president of Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), said the chamber was looking forward to resumption of operations in Eastern Railways, especially Enugu-Port Court.
Timothy Olusoji, the Railway District Manager, East, thanked the Managing Director for approving the rehabilitation work on the hospital.
Olusoji equally thanked GIBC Digital for this great commitment towards changing the lives of his workers and hospital community in general.
Greg Wood, Chief Executive Officer, GIBC Digital, said they were delighted for the opportunity given to them to contribute the the ongoing transformation of rail transport in Nigeria.