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Security operatives connive with our staff in ticket racketeering, NRC MD tells reps panel

Security operatives connive with our staff in ticket racketeering, NRC MD tells reps panel
November 22
18:34 2023

Fidet Okhiria, managing director (MD) of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), says security operatives are involved in ticket racketeering in the agency.

Okhiria spoke on Wednesday 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).

In October, TheCable exposed how some staff members of the NRC engaged in fraudulent dealings by smuggling passengers into trains and collecting cash from passengers without remitting the funds to official coffers.

Days after the investigation, NRC announced that it would crack down on the perpetrators, and also introduced an e-ticketing platform to tackle the menace.

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At the interactive session, James Faleke, chairman of the committee, queried Okhiria about the accuracy of the report of ticket racketeering at NRC stations.

Responding, Okhiria 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.”

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Okhiria said security operatives — police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) — attached to NRC stations are also involved in ticket racketeering.

“Even with that, it is not just (our) staff, the security people we engage,” he said.

“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 said 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.

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“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,” he said.

“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.

“Some have been sacked, some have been demoted — depending on their gravity,” he said.

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‘INSECURITY HAS AFFECTED OUR REVENUE’

Okhiria explained that insecurity, especially on the Abuja-Kaduna route has affected the trip on the axis, impacting NRC’s revenue.

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According to the MD of NRC, 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.

He added that trips were also reduced to two from five everyday.

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