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Reps put Nigerian Railway on status enquiry over fuel shortages, others

The House of Representatives on Tuesday placed the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) on status enquiry in all its operations, especially with the disturbing trend where trains stop in the middle railways because of fuel exhaustion.

The House reached this resolution at plenary, following the adoption of amendment to a motion of urgent public importance on: “Need to Investigate the Ibadan-Lagos Train Fuel Saga moved by Ndudi Elumelu, Minority Leader of the House.

Moving the motion, Elumelu noted that NRC came into existence 112 yrs ago for the purposes of easy and cheap movement of bulk goods and commuters from hinterlands to seaports and vice versa and its first rail business activities commenced with the construction of the Lagos- Ibadan rail line.

The lawmaker further noted that the agency which is under the supervision of the Ministry of Transportation has been in news for passenger trains breakdown in the middle of nowhere due to lack of maintenance.

Elumelu said this trend subjects commuters to possible attacks by hoodlums and armed robbers who can brutalise, maim and cart away hard earned monies and goods of innocent Nigerians.

He said the House is: “Aware that another sad episode happened on Thursday the 11th day of march 2022 , where a train conveying passengers and goods from Lagos to Ibadan came to a halt midway due to insufficient fuel , once again endangering the lives of innocent Nigerian travellers on the trip.

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“Concerned that another of the operational incompetence of the NRC is the issue of ticket racketeering and hoarding to the public thereby undermining government revenue which inhibit target loan repayment and constitute economic sabotage

“Further concerned that this episode exposes the carelessness, irresponsibility and incompetence of the management of the Nigeria railway corporation to effectively and efficiently manage the sector.

“Disturbed that for a train to leave the station with insufficient fuel only to get stuck midway into the journey with traumatised and stranded passengers, is a huge national embarrassment which not only makes our nation a laughing stock in the eyes of the international community but a complete system failure.

“Further disturbed that the excuse by Fidelis Okhiria the Managing Director of NRC is not just laughable but points to the inability of the management to effectively conduct routine standard operational checks thereby raising serious issues about the safety and reliability of our rail services which must be seriously investigated”.

Elumelu expressed worry that if these irresponsible and careless act by the NRC is not effectively tackled and nipped at the bud, it may one day lead to a major disaster where innocent Nigerians will end up losing their lives, hence the need for this motion.

The House while adopting the motion gave the ad-hoc Committee that would be saddled with the enquiry four weeks to finish its assignment and report back for further legislative action.