The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) says the Mass Transit Train Services (MTTS) in Lagos will not resume yet in spite of the gradual easing of COVID-19 lockdown in the state.
The Lagos Railway District Manager, Mr Jerry Oche, who made this disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Lagos, said the corporation would concentrate on Apapa freight shuttles alone.
Oche noted that it would be difficult to ensure social distancing both at the railway stations and on board trains.
According to him, though the corporation will resume work, train services will be limited to freight shuttle from Apapa to Iddo, Apapa to Ebutte-Metta and others.
The NRC boss said: “As directed by the Federal Government, we will resume on May 4 like every other agency but our emphasis for now is going to be on Apapa freight shuttle.
“Don’t forget that if we have to do the MTT, there are lot of measures to be put in place. The social distancing is there, the enforcement is there and we know how porous our stations are.
“It is going to be very difficult and we don’t want to go in that line now.
“So, what we intend to do is to deploy our manpower, allowed by the government to resume work, for the freight shuttle services,” he said.
According to him, the corporation will not also want to endanger the lives of its staff, especially checkers on the train.
“It is not everybody that is resuming, it is just for those on level 14 and above. We don’t want to risk anybody’s life.
“For freight shuttle, we don’t need checkers, we just need drivers. We can manage that one.
“The freight shuttle is a shorter distance, it is just Apapa to EBJ and Iddo as the case may be. All our emphasis is going to be on freight shuttles,” he said.
Oche added that the port had been congested and the NRC would want to help in decongesting the port.
NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on April 27, announced a “gradual easing” of COVID-19 lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja, from May 4, after a four-week lockdown of the areas to contain the spread of COVID-19.
By Monday, residents of Lagos and Abuja would have been on lockdown to contain spread of the global pandemic for five weeks.