Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
Worried by the sudden upsurge of passengers on the Abuja-Kaduna train service, due to the notorious activities of kidnappers along the Abuja-Kaduna road, the federal government yesterday ordered the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), to move two additional coaches from Itakpe-Warri rail lines to reduce the pressure.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, gave the directive during the monthly inspection of the on-going Lagos-Ibadan rail project at Ologueru, Ibadan.
The minister, while reacting to the ugly scene witnessed during one of the trip to Kaduna by passengers, where some had to stand, noted that anyone caught in the habbit of tickets racketeering will be arrested and dealt with.
According to him, “We are going there to arrest anyone caught up with tickets racketeering. The long queue at that axis is because, coaches are not enough.”
He said: “The reason we bought those coaches was for people to sit down. But, people are standing, they shouldn’t stand. But, I’ve directed that we should move two coaches from Itakpe-Warri to Kaduna. Today is the first day that I will be given this directive.”
“The first directive I gave was to move two coaches from Itakpe-Warri to Lagos. When we saw the problem, today, I told the MD, move two coaches to Kaduna from Itakpe-Warri because, there no much passengers in that axis.”
Amaechi, informed that until there is a connection between Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri to Lokoja and Abuja, which according to him, “a plan is on for the connectivity and we are talking to someone who want to build a park at Itakpe to carry passengers by road to Abuja, pending when we get approval and funding to link Abuja to Itakpe.”
He stated that it would be difficult to manage and control passengers because of the upsurge and that, “even if two additional coaches is added, which is 150, and the long term plan is that we are going to China between 24th and 30th to expect the new coaches and locomotives we ate buying for Lagos-Ibadan.
“We may be under pressure to put that on the Abuja-Kaduna route and if we do that, that would reduce the pressure and the moment there are more coaches and locomotives, the pressure will cool down,” he said.