Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi has openly expressed his fear for the coronavirus, stating that he is not ready to die.
The minister said because of the fear, he carries his sanitiser and extra mask around just as a precaution to prevent being infected with the virus and also to curb the spread.
Amaechi spoke in Abuja on Monday during the briefing by members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
He said: “I carry mask and sanitiser everywhere I go and the reason is that I have seen people die of COVID. So, I’m dead scared. If you ask the national coordinator of PTF, I refused that we should open the railway.
It is the pressure of those who want to participate in the forthcoming spiritual activities (Sallah) that made me accept that the railways from Abuja to Kaduna resume.
He also added that the delay in the resumption of the train operation was economical.
“I was imagining the money to run the rail at this time because right now, expenditure will be higher than income and it may be difficult for the ministry because it is not budgeted for.
However, we have to run and we will not shut down after COVID-19, but we will shut down if people don’t comply with the protocol. For me, life is more important than anything.”
Amaechi said the ministry will introduce e-ticketing on the Abuja-Kaduna railway route in two to three months time as a measure to observe physical distancing as recommended by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
He also said the introduction of more coaches on the route will reduce the rate of ticket racketeering.