The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has acknowledged that the frequent breakdowns of locomotives on the Abuja– Kaduna is as a result of lack of spare parts for trains.
The Minister who was on inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan rail corridor barely a month after its commissioning, said “the issue with the breakdown of the Abuja-Kaduna train is down to lack of maintenance which is attributable to a lack of spare parts”.
” He continued: “We have written to Mr. President on this issue and he has graciously approved the purchase of spare parts for the Lagos-Ibadan trains. Very soon, enough spare parts for the Lagos-Ibadan rail will arrive the country. By the time this occurs, we will use some of these parts for the Abuja-Kaduna and hopefully, the issue of incessant breakdown of the trains will be resolved.”
According to the Minister, the trains that are currently failing were bought in 2016 and had worked perfectly until now that some parts needed to be changed and others serviced.
The Minister during the media parley disclosed that Nigerian Railyway Corporation is fine-tuning coordination of the fully installed communication and signaling system, adding that when that is done, the number of trips on the corridor will be increased from the current 4 trips to 8 per day.
On the issue of traffic, the Minister had this to say: “On the Lagos-Ibadan route, 42, 000 passengers were moved in June, we expect the figures to surge in the coming months because if we could convey 42, 000 a month after commissioning, then the figures can only increase as more people become aware of the train services”.
Speaking on the poor remuneration and welfare package of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, the Minister admitted that the Corporation ranks least amongst other agencies under his purview, He promised to ensure it is reviewed upwards.
On use of local content for ongoing rail projects, Amaechi said local contractors have failed to meet some prerequisite stipulations such as 5 years’ experience in rail construction. According to him, most of these local contractors can be likened to “commission agents” and considering them for such projects is tantamount to signing death warrant of Nigerians.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Directors of the Ministry and NRC accompanied the Minister on the inspection.
Eric.Ojiekwe D (PPR) July 9, 2021