Amaechi, Abuja-Kaduna corridor, local content

By Dirisu Yakubu

Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, has blamed incessant breakdowns of locomotives on the Abuja– Kaduna on lack of spare parts to replace worn out parts.

The Minister stated this in Lagos while monitoring progress of work done on the Lagos-Ibadan rail corridor barely a month after its commissioning.

According to him, “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.

“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.”

Amaechi added that the failing trains those bought in 2016, noting that they had worked optimally until now. He maintained that time had indeed come for the trains to be serviced with new spare parts.

READ ALSO: Amaechi blames Abuja-Kaduna corridor trains’ breakdowns on spare parts scarcity

In a parley with journalists in Lagos, the Minister noted that the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, 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 traffic congestion, the Minister said, “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 staff members of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, the Minister admitted that the corporation ranks least amongst other agencies under his purview even as he pledged an upward review of same as quickly as possible.

On use of local content for ongoing rail projects, Amaechi said indigenous 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 the 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.

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