OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has condemned the poor state of the Abuja-Kaduna railway line and the general lack of security at stations on the line.
The House also urged the Inspector General of Police to deploy an adequate number of armed policemen to provide security at each of the 9 Stations between Abuja and Kaduna State.
The decisions followed the adoption of a motion moved by Sodiq Ibrahim (APC, Adamawa).
In his motion, Mr. Ibrahim noted that, “the Abuja-Kaduna train has 9 stop over stations between Idu in [the] FCT and Rigasa in Kaduna State but only three stations in Idu and Kubwa have security lights and the failure of the Corporation to maintain security lights in the other 6 Stations is capable of endangering the lives of the passengers who will be disembarking at those stations at night.”
“Each of the sub-stations [have] only four policemen on duty and who do not carry fire arms at the moment, while the staff are alleged to be in the habit of ticket racketeering at the stations,” he said.
He informed the House of the alleged collusion between the management of Nigerian Railway and some contractors on the supply of adulterated diesel, which destroyed the air conditioning units in some coaches on the trains.
He also highlighted some kinks in the current arrangement with the Chinese company involved in the maintenance of the rails.
“Mobile telecommunication service is extremely poor along the rail route from Abuja-Kaduna, thus passengers can hardly make telephone calls or access internet facilities, thus in the event of breakdown on the way, urgent calls for help may only come through the use of the Trains communication facility.
“Also, the train is being maintained by a Chinese Engineering Firm that has allegedly deployed only two engineers for this purpose and there is no effort to train Nigerian engineers to learn to maintain the trains and the two Chinese engineers are living at huge costs to the Federal Government without any plan for transfer of technology,” the lawmaker stated.
He continued, stating: “First Class Passengers pay N1,500 while the Second Class passengers pay N1,050 only. However, the air conditioning system in the Second Class compartment does not function due to the adulterated diesel allegedly supplied by Contractors who are alleged to be cronies of the Management of the Nigeria Railway Corporation.
“The Corporation generates at least N1,000,000 per day on ticket sales only and operates throughout the week, yet its lower cadre staff are grossly under paid and have extremely poor welfare packages.”
Consequently, the House mandated its Committee on Land Transport to interface with the Nigeria Railway Corporation with a view to addressing the challenges.
Additionally, the committee was given 6 weeks to report back for further legislative action after the motion was put to vote by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara.