The Federal Government said it is considering unbundling the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to make its services more efficient and effective.
The Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Sambo disclosed this over the weekend in Abuja when members of the corporation’s governing board paid him a courtesy visit.
According to him, the Nigerian Railway Corporation cannot be owner, operator and regulator at the same time, pointing out that “the private sector is the engine of growth. Let someone else operate your lines efficiently. We cannot have an agency that is owner, regulator and operator at the same time.”
Briefing the board on what government is doing concerning resumption of rail services, the minister said commercial operations will resume after security measures are installed to forestall reoccurrence of train attacks in the country.
“We are looking at how the rail lines can be safe by putting 24-hour surveillance and immediate response apparatus.”
Furthermore, he said the security measures will include short- and long-term plans, with the short-term plans taking effect from November 2022.
Sambo said in addition to the security measures, he had promised Nigerians that rail services will become operational only when the kidnapped Abuja-Kaduna train passengers regain their freedom and are reunited with their families.
“I’ve told Nigerians that I will not run the services until every captive is released. We are lucky today; they are all released and reunited with their families. Also, we are lucky that all of them are back alive and were all given proper medical care.”
As for infrastructural development in the country, the minister said no government has invested more in infrastructure than the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I daresay no government has invested in infrastructure more than the President Muhammadu Buhari government”.
He said a National Transportation Policy that will articulate a seamless transportation system for the country will soon be launched and urged the board to ready itself by looking for alternative sources of cheaper and cleaner energy for the transport sector.
Earlier, the chairman of the NRC board, Engr. Ibrahim Musa informed the minister that, due to the high cost of diesel, the corporation is running the trains at a loss.
He called on the minister to intervene, as the corporation is one of the things the present administration prides itself in, especially the Lagos-Ibadan, Warri – Itakpe and the Abuja-Kaduna rail lines.