Amaechi also said when the commercial service commences, passengers will be required to have a national identity card or any other form of identification.
The minister spoke in Abuja during a test-run of the Idu-Kaduna rail line.
He said: “I am impressed with what I have seen today and I must say we are good to go. The reason why we are not going immediately is because we have to also take into consideration the religious obligations of the President so that we can also bring him to flag off the project. We are looking at the first week in July but we are good to go.
“The first two weeks of June will be used for test-run of the track without passengers and the other two weeks will be used for another round of test-run with passengers and it will be free of charge and by first week in July, we believe that the President will come and flag it off for commercial activities and after that, anybody who boards must pay.”
On the cost of the project, Amaechi said: “The contract was initially awarded at the rate of $849,000 million but we used $1.04billion because we had to include fencing of the tracks from Abuja to Kaduna on both sides to prevent human and animals from crossing, light and all that.”
Speaking on the use of national identity cards, he said: “We will use national identity card because of security. We want to know who is boarding the train and who is not. They should all have forms of identification.
“I think the Ministry of Transportation should work with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure that in every station, we have somebody from NIMC to register the passengers because we want to know where people live and who they are.
“We want to ensure that those who want to use the train have one form of identification or the other like driver’s licence, international passport and others but we will not let IN those that we cannot identify.”
To ensure the security and safety of passengers, about 1000 police officers will man the rail tracks from Abuja to Kaduna daily, the minister said .
Source: The Nation