The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi says he goes about with his mask and hand sanitiser because he is scared of dying from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
He explained that having seen many people die from the dreaded virus, he did not want to take chances.
Amaechi added that he was scared at the prospect of resuming train services across the nation.
The minister spoke Monday during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.
Amaechi said he preferred to delay the reopening of train services a little longer due to COVID-19 but had to cave in to pressure from those celebrating the forthcoming Eid-el-Kabir.
“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,” Amaechi said.
He further explained that the Federal Government has benefitted from the delay in resumption of train services.
“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,” the minister said.
He disclosed that the ministry would introduce e-ticketing on the Abuja-Kaduna railway route within three months as a measure to observe physical distancing as recommended by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.