The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has acknowledged that the frequent breakdown of locomotives (trains) on the Abuja– Kaduna rail line is as a result of the lack of spare parts and proper maintenance of trains.
Amaechi who spoke on the recent breakdown of trains on the Abuja-Kaduna line, said, “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 in 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.”
He further said that the trains that are currently failing were bought in 2016 and had worked perfectly until now that some parts needed to be changed and others serviced.
The minister also added that the newly commissioned Lagos-Ibadan rail line conveyed 42,000 passengers in June.
According to him, “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.”
The minister said Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) was fine-tuning coordination of the fully installed communication and signalling system, adding that when that is done, the number of trips on the corridor will be increased from the current four trips to eight per day.
Speaking on the poor remuneration and welfare package of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, the minister admitted that the Corporation ranks least amongst other agencies under his purview and promised to work towards reviewing its welfare upwards.
On the use of local content for ongoing rail projects, Amaechi said local contractors have failed to meet some prerequisite stipulations such as five years of experience in rail construction.