Fact-Check: Is it true it costs only N2,600 to travel by train from Lagos to Kano?
By Mohammed Dahiru Lawal
Claim: Claim on the WhatsApp platform of a reputable news organization is that it costs only N2,600 to travel by train from Lagos to Kano and “a little more” for the first class ticket for a journey of over 834 km.
Verdict: The minimum train ticket fare for economy class from Lagos to Kano costs N2,950 while the fee for a First Class ticket is N4,600. The claim that economy class costs only N2,600 is False.
A WhatsApp user recently shared on a reputable news group claims that a train ticket costs N2,600 to travel by train from Lagos to Kano with a distance of over 834km.
His message reads, “Finally, the Friday train from Lagos to Kano has left Idu Terminus. The over 834 km Journey will only cost travellers NGN2,600, and just a little more for the first class section which provides better comfort with AC. The narrow railway that was built in 1912 was recently rehabilitated.”
With various individuals on the same platform, the message has the sort of appeal that has motivated users to start sharing the message on other groups and on social media. This may impact on decisions on travel by train along this route.
On August 8th 2021, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) said that the Lagos-Kano train service will go into operation from Friday August 13 in a statement by Ismail Adebiyi, regional district manager, NRC. Speaking in Zaria, Kaduna State, he said the train would leave Lagos on Friday evening of the said date and arrive in Kano on Sunday morning.
However, on Thursday August 12th 2021, a day before the scheduled take-off operation, it announced the postponement of the Lagos-Kano train service due to a damaged rail track.
Fidet Okhiria, Managing Director, NRC, said this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday.
He said the damage to the rail track was caused by a downpour around the Power Line in Osogbo, Osun state, during the week.
The statement said a team of experts from NRC had mobilised to the site and was working round the clock to restore the damaged track.
An inquiry sent to the NRC official email [email protected] as displayed on its official website https://nrc.gov.ng/ on weekday was not responded to. Similarly, the official mobile contact of the NRC +(234) 90 600 30 422 did not connect as it was either “not reachable,” or “switched off.”
However, an online search reveals that the Lagos to Kano train service resumed operation on Friday 3rd September 2021 and will only operate weekly – every Friday specifically – which was reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Punch, Vanguard and other credible news platforms.
At the maiden take-off operation, the Lagos District Manager of the NRC, Mr Jerry Oche, announced that, “the train ticket fee to various stations is as follows: from Lagos to Abeokuta on First Class is N450 while Economy class is N350; Ibadan to Lagos on first class is N850 while the economy is N550; Osogbo between N1,1250 and N850; Offa between N1,450 and N950; Ilorin N1,650 and N1,100 while Jebba, N2,050 and N1,300; from Mokwa is between N2,200 and N1,450; Kutiwengi N2,500 and N1,650; Akerri N2,650 and N1,750; Minna N2,800 and N1,850; Serikinpawa N3,050 and N1,950; Kaduna Junction N3,700 and 2,400; Zaria N4,000 and N2, 600 while the last station is Kano with a fee of between N4,600 and N2,950.”
The train will stop at 16 different stations between 97 kilometers to Abeokuta and 1,126 kilometers to Kano,” Oche said.
NRC: Live Website, Dormant Contacts, Website Updates
Following efforts by this fact-check to obtain the facts on the NRCs official website and other publicly available contacts – phone number and email, it turns out that the website https://nrc.gov.ng/ has not been updated with the latest train service schedule from Lagos to Kano.
Even the e-ticketing web platform https://nrc.tps.ng/ has not been updated with a selection option that will enable intending travellers to click and purchase tickets online. Furthermore, the timetable on https://nrc.tps.ng/time-tables and https://nrc.gov.ng/schedules/ has not been updated to reflect resumption of the train service from Lagos to Kano.
According to website developers, every web page on the internet has three important dates attached to it. The first is its published date. This is when the author of the page originally published the content on the web. The second is the last updated/modified date. This is when the author last updated the web page. The third is the indexed date. This is the most recent date that search engines crawlers indexed the page for search results.
Using the GoDaddy WhoIs database query, it was discovered that the NRC website was last updated in August 2016.
In the same vein, the publicly available email and phone number seem inactive as messages were not replied to or calls fail to connect to official phone numbers.
Even though recent developments about timetable for the Lagos- Kano train service have not been updated on the official the NRC website https://nrc.tps.ng/ and e-ticketing https://nrc.tps.ng/time-tables platform, official statements and comments available on credible news platforms prove that the ticket for Lagos-Kano train service costs more than NGN2,600. Claims that it cost this same amount is FALSE.
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