The lack of tickets at the Rigasa Train Station in Kaduna got worse yesterday with the suspicion that officials of the station may have sold the tickets to a multinational firm. It was alleged that a firm bought all the tickets and was giving out as favours to its valued clients.
A ticket seller who prefers not to be named however denied the accusation saying it was not possible. “Maybe it is from the Abuja end. We don’t have such problems here,” he stated.
Checks by our reporters yesterday confirmed there were difficulties in obtaining tickets.
Our reporters noticed that those who could travel came with their tickets from home, but it was not possible for intending travelers already at the station to book even ahead of time.
One of the officials when approached by our reporter said the tickets had finished and suggested our reporter follow him so that he can make a deal to ride with the driver of the train.
There were three policemen at the entrance of the train station and a few private security personnel.
Those with tickets were allowed inside the main station while those without were told to get one before they can be allowed in.
The premises were busy but only few of those standing outside looked like they were traveling.
The counter was locked when our reporter wanted to make inquiries at around 12 noon.
Three women who do not have tickets, asked an official of the possibility of acquiring some and were directed to the staff who was having a chat with some men by the side.
The one who asked the questions informed her friends that there no more executive tickets but standard ones which costs N1050.
Efforts to get an official response did not yield fruit as our reporters were asked to contact the office in Lagos for reaction.
Spokesman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr. Mahmoud Yakubu when contacted, said he was not aware that any firm had purchased tickets en masse. He noted that corporation was not favouring any individual or group with regards to sale of tickets.
Yakubu said, “We are for passengers. The tickets are not meant for a particular person or group. Whoever comes to patronize us, we are ready to do business with him. It is not for a particular person and it is first come, first served.”
On the allegation that a major telecoms firm bought all available tickets, he said “I don’t know. If the tickets have all been booked, how will they sell them?”