Transportation Minister Gets Feedback From Passengers On Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail

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By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos

Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, has expressed satisfaction with the responses he got from passengers on Lagos-Ibadan route of the standard gauge railway train services.

Sambo had during an official visit he jointly paid with Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye, to the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) headquarters in Lagos on Thursday personally interviewed some passengers on their experiences while travelling on the route.

“You were with us when we asked randomly about their experiences on this route and the response has been excellent. We pointedly asked if there has been any problems or challenges at all. They pointedly said no!, the minister explained.

On railway security along Lagos-Ibadan axis, he stated that his ministry has not experienced anything to worry about. He promised that in any case the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) is not going to wait until something sinister happens before it begins to enforce security measures on the route.

“We’re proactive. We don’t have to announce what we have done, but I can assure you that except it’s beyond our powers” government is securing lives and goods on trains and ports.

Shedding light on the regularity and number of trips per day, Sambo said that there cannot be more than 24 hours in a day, and, therefore, the services have to be scheduled to cover a particular period of the day from morning till evening.

He pointed out that so far the trains are not oversubscribed, so there is no question of saying “you come there’s no ticket or you come there is no space.”

He urged Nigerians and the general public to visit his social media platforms and inform him of their experiences if they have any challenges anywhere in the transportation sector.

The minister dropped a hint on resumption of train operations on Abuja-Kaduna train route. “We have announced previously that we are going to commence operations on that line this month. We have a target date but it is not necessary for me to share that date publicly. I don’t think that will help in running the service.

“Nigerians are interested in the service right? We’re today on November 17 – less than two  weeks before the month is over. So, be patient.”

Sambo spoke on the importance of the railway control centre, after inspecting the one in Lagos, describing it as the heart beat of railway operations security.

He said, “The centre is actually at the heart of the safety of the rail service. I can simply answer that question with an analogy: You are used to air transport. You know the air traffic control tower. That’s exactly what that is.”

The transportation minister said that he is impressed with railway modernization scheme, and described what he saw as unprecedented. “And we have vowed, my colleague and I, that within a short time we have to spend, we will build on what we have found so that the trajectory will not be truncated anywhere at all,” Sambo said.

The ministers were accompanied by the Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, during the tour of the rail corridor of the standard gauge from Lagos to Ibadan.

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