One hundred and fifty young Nigerians are currently undergoing training in railway technology outside the country.
The youths, not more than 20 years old are being sponsored by the Nigerian government.
Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, in an interview in Lagos told newsmen that the trainees will constitute the pioneer members of staff in the railway department of the proposed University of Transportation in Daura, Katsina State.
“You see, there is a university that is coming up on transportation, and minister of transportation said that you teach transportation but we don’t have a full fledged university especially having a rail department. I have been in rail, but didn’t study rail in university; I studied rail when I joined the railway system, he said.
“So, now 150 youths aged not more than 20 years were sent to various schools of technology in China and paid for by the contractor as also corporate social responsibility,” Okhiria told Radio Nigeria.
He added that some will be trained up to Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) level, while there are those who will obtain Masters degree, and that they will become the pioneering part of the workforce that will later take off the University of Transportation in Daura.
Mr. Okhiria, explained that it was a two-year course, and that the trainees would go in badges. “They are less than 20 years old, and they are from various parts of this country,” the NRC boss clarified.
He noted that the programme is ongoing, had a hiccup, caused by the outbreak of the dreaded Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
He said that 23 people drawn from technicians and engineers in the railway sector were sent to China and that they spent six months “when they were manufacturing those first set of locomotives.”
Mr. Okhiria said that when the university finally takes off, Nigerians will be there to learn and to maintain the system.
“What we have is Maintenance Service Agreement for three years, as we construct, we impart knowledge to Nigerians. That is what we’re going to do,” the NRC boss said.