According to the Motion Sponsor, Senator Fadeyi Olubiyi, Nigeria has recently suffered no fewer than four train attacks, leading to a decline of 125.6 per cent in rail passenger movement in the second quarter of 2022.
The Senate has called on the Federal Ministry of Transportation to review the Nigeria Railway modernisation projects to enhance passengers’ safety and security, increase revenue generation and boost passengers’ patronage.
This is as it mandated its Committee on Land Transport (when constituted) to carry out an oversight to determine the viability of the nation’s rail project and ensure that the revenue generation structure is fit for purpose.
These formed prayers of a motion on the ‘Urgent Need to rescue Nigeria’s Rail Project from Collapse,’ sponsored by Senator Fadeyi Olubiyi (PDP, Osun Central).
Olubiyi noted that the National Bureau of Statistics’ rail transportation data reveals that several attacks on trains conveying passengers and rail infrastructure are taking a toll on Nigeria’s rail sector, as it recorded a decline of 125.6 per cent in passenger movement in the second quarter of 2022. He also gave an account of several funds that have been invested, including loans for the railway projects.
“Huge sums of funds were deployed for Nigeria rail projects, including loans, and alarming statistics confirm that N768.44 million was received from passengers over the period lower by 63.02% relative to N2.08 billion in the same quarter of the previous year, 2021.
Also, the 156 kilometer Lagos-Ibadan rail line is costing the Federal Government about $2.5 billion to build by the China Civil Construction Corporation (CCECC) whilst the 186 kilometer Abuja – Kaduna project cost $874 million (N317.3 billion).”
Speaking in support of the motion, Senator Abdul Ningi (PDP, Bauch Central) said, “Close to N5bn was borrowed to rehabilitate the railway in Osun State. The cause of these problems are due to lack of transparency.
“One of the reason why we don’t do well is because of oversight from the National Assembly. The National Assembly should be able to bring people to justice.”
On his part, Senator Victor Umeh (LP, Anambra Central), requested an additional prayer urging the Federal Government also to include the Eastern rail line.
The motion was unanimously adopted when put to a voice vote by Senate President, Godswill Akpabio.