Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The federal government has inaugurated a 26-member board of the Nigerian Railway Corporation(NRC), even as it urged them not to slow down the work of the Ministry of Transportation and Agency in the execution of President Muhammadu Buhari aministration’s strategy for rail development in the country.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who on behalf of government, inaugurated the board in Abuja, however, warned the members that they were strictly advised to acquaint themselves with relevant government circulars and directives on relationship of Board with their Agencies for a good harmonious working relationship.
According to him, “You are to note that in line with the Guides to Administrative Procedures in the Federal Public Service (Chapter 7), the Minister may give to the Board of Directors, directions of general character or relating generally to particular matters to the statutory body with regard to discharge of the Board’s functions.”
Amaechi said, “We should continue from where the last Chairman stopped. With him and the MD, NRC, we were able to effectively tackle critical problems such as, pipe bornewater, gas as well as sewage lines that were obstructing construction works on the Lagos axis of the Lagos-Ibadan Railway project. Please, don’t slow us down.”
Speaking further, he said: “As Governing Board Members, you are responsible for setting out the parastatal’s economic, financial, operational administrative policies in accordance with government policy directives aimed at assisting the corporation to achieve its mandate.
“You are also charged with the responsibilities for measuring performance against targets and introducing broad policy measures that will curtail any deviations to ensure that the targets are achieved.”
While cautioning the Board Members not to involve themselves in the day-to-day management of the NRC, he however, enjoined them to engender harmonious working relationship with the Management of the Corporation in order to achieve the objectives of the Government.
The Minister reiterated that as construction works continue on the Rail line, “the track laying would be completed by end of May, 2019 and by the end of December 2019, appreciable progress of work would have been achieved up to Apapa Seaports.
He stated that the congestion being experienced on daily basis at the Apapa Ports were ‘man made’ assuring that as soon as the Lagos-Ibadan extension to Apapa Ports was achieved, all the cargoes coming through the Apapa ports into country would now be transported via the rail line and this would automatically terminate the perennial gridlock at Apapa Ports.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Sabiu Zakari, in his welcome address, stated that section 5 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic empowered the Minister to appoint Board Members of the Agency under the purview of his Ministry.
According to him, “In line with this provision, the Hon. Minister will swear-in 26 Board members of the Board of Directors of the NRC who had been drawn from different states of the Country to join hands with the Management of NRC to strategically position the Agency in achieving the mandate of the present Administration in the rail sector of the economy.”
The Chairman of the newly inaugurated Board of Directors of the NRC, Engr. Ibrahim Alhassan who led other members to the inauguration ceremony, gave the vote of thanks and in eulogising the doggedness of the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi Minister in his efforts at repositioning the rail sector.
He said, “It takes more than a Gold braid to make a Captain” by being the driving force behind the successes that has been so far recorded in the Railway development in the Country, particularly, the Abuja-Kaduna rail line, ongoing Lagos-Ibadan rail line and others.