The Minister Of Transportation Honourable Rotimi Amaechi has assured travelers on the Abuja-Kaduna railway, that the constant train breakdown while in transit will soon be a thing of the past.
Amaechi gave the assurance in Lagos during a post commissioning inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan railway protect.
He said the inspection was necessary to ensure that little details identified before the commissioning have been fixed by the contractors.
The Minister who attributed the ugly situation to lack of spare parts from China, hinted that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the purchase of spare parts for the Lagos- Ibadan rail line, but said part of it will be deployed to fix the Kaduna-Abuja problem.
“After the last breakdown of the Kaduna-Abuja train, I instructed the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to rest that particular locomotive. I am surprised that there was a delay related to another breakdown in the early hours of today.
“The issue with the break down of the Kaduna-Abuja train is down to lack of maintenance which is attributable to a lack of spare parts from China. 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, the Chinese people will supply us with enough spare parts for the Lagos-Ibadan rail. By the time they do that, we will be forced to use some of these spare parts for the Kaduna-Abuja trains and hopefully, the issue of incessant breakdown of the trains will be resolved, ” Amaechi said.
He said the inspection was necessary to ensure that little details identified pre-commissioning have been fixed by the contractors.”
The minister who was excited at the increased passenger traffic, said patronage is good and on the increase. He disclosed that the Lagos-Ibadan trains conveyed 42,000 passengers in the month of June 2021.
“On the Lagos-Ibadan trains, 42,000 passengers were moved in June. We expect the figure to increase in the coming months because if we can move 42,000 in the month that we started, then the figures will increase as more people become aware of the train services between Lagos and Ibadan.”
On the completion stage of the train stations, the Honourable Minister explained that due to a recent kidnap of some Chinese officials in the Olodo area of Ogun State, the train station there is yet to be completed.
“Most of the stations have been completed except for Olodo which is delayed due to a recent kidnap of some Chinese officials. The contractor has completed most of the communication and signalling work, but we need to observe the project for the next six months to be sure everything is working perfectly as planned”.
“If not, we won’t be able to do the 16 trips-a-day train schedule as planned. The reason we are inspecting is to be sure everything is working as planned. After six months, when we are very sure of what we are seeing, then we can bring in new coaches and locomotives and increase the trips”.
Concerning the frequency of trips on the Lagos-Ibadan rail. The Minister disclosed that he has directed the Nigeria Railway Commission (NRC) to scale up the number of trips per day from four to eight. ”
Speaking about passenger demand for more trains and coaches as well as an increase in the number of trips on that route, the Minister said he had given a directive to scale up from four to eight subject to observing the signaling efficiency for six months.
The Lagos-Ibadan railway was commissioned by President Buhari on 10th June 2021 for commercial operations.