• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Reps urge FG to beef up security along Abuja-Kaduna rail line

Reps urge FG to make Nigeria renewable energy, technology hubs

The House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to increase the number of security personnel stationed along the Abuja-Kaduna railway as well as increase surveillance and intelligence gathering in the surrounding areas.

The House also mandated its committee on land transport to investigate the extent to which the variation to accommodate the perimeter fencing of the rail line was carried out and the level of implementation and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

These decisions followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Zakaria Nyampa from Adamawa State. Nyampa noted that railways in Nigeria have, for many decades, suffered severe neglect, but noted that the rail projects so far undertaken by the Federal Government will contribute significantly to easing the movement of persons and goods across the country.

The lawmaker said the House “is aware that the Abuja-Kaduna Railway is a standard gauge that runs through nine stations from Idu Station to Kuchibon, Asham, Jere, Gidan, Rijana, Dutse, Kakau and terminates at Rigasa in Kaduna.

“The House is aware of the need to provide perimeter fencing to avoid accidents that could arise from human beings or animals crossing rail tracks and install a digital security system to enable the operators to know when there is an impact on the rail, and consequently get the needed help.”

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He said operators of the rail system have been having a running battle with communities surrounding the rail line, particularly herdsmen, some of whose cattle that strayed into the rail tracks were crushed by a moving train.

“We are concerned that an inexperienced train driver could easily be frightened and confused in such situations, and in the process of trying to avoid the cattle may derail, which could be extremely disastrous.”

Nyampa recalled that the rail line, which is the first commercial standard gauge train service in Nigeria, was built by China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) from a $500 million concessionary loan from China Exim Bank scheduled to finance 85 percent of the project while the remaining 15 percent was a counterpart funding of Nigeria.

He regretted that despite the inclusion of perimeter fencing in the scope of work, the dominant challenge on the service remains the vandalisation of equipment and facilities, thus constituting security and safety threats.

“Cognizant that if the perimeter fencing project is completed, it will not only improve efficiency and effectiveness in the transportation system but also reduce pressure on the nation’s roads and curtail fatal accidents,” the lawmaker said.