The Minister of Transportation, Saidu Alkali, on Sunday, said he is committed to addressing the challenges faced by the railway services in the country.
The minister, while acknowledging the need for improvement, stated that his actions were driven by the agenda of President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope.
He also indicated that the managing director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation might face disciplinary action in relation to the Abuja-Kaduna railway operations.
The minister made this announcement when he paid an unscheduled visit to Idu Train Station in Abuja.
During the visit, the minister personally inspected the coaches and discovered several issues that needed urgent attention.
Notably, some of the toilet facilities were found to be non-functional.
He said: “It is out of a desire to achieve the agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Renewed Hope. So from the experience when the visit is scheduled they’ll be able to put some of the things in place because they are aware you are coming to see.
“So, seeing is believing, as I have seen by myself. I inspected the coaches. Some of the toilet facilities are not working.”
Additionally, the minister noted that he received complaints from security escorts regarding unpaid allowances for the past five months.
“I received a complaint from the security escorts that in the last five months their allowances were not paid and I am happy that the MD of NRC is appearing before the ministry on Tuesday to brief. So, if he comes I am now well informed the lifts and escalators aren’t working, which makes it very difficult for the elderly and the disabled persons to use the train for travelling.
“Therefore, he would explain why disciplinary action wouldn’t be taken against him,” the minister stressed.
Alkali further outlined his plan to revamp the railway services swiftly, adding that within the next 48 hours, he assured the public that the escalators would be fixed and the lifts would be operational.
He added that he was committed to resolving the outstanding payment issues for security escorts, ensuring that their allowances were paid on Monday.
“I’ll make sure that we fix the escalators in the next 48 hours and the lift will be working in the next 48 hours.
“I am also going to ensure that the outstanding allowances of the escorts were paid on Monday.
“I am going to liaise with the Ministry of Defence so that we’re going to ensure that we’ve maintained unmanned area vehicles so that it will give them protection from the air.
“The coaches are unkempt. The seats aren’t clean. So, we need to ensure that all these things are put in place.”