Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Chairman Senate Committee on Land Transport lawmaker representing Lagos East Senatorial District has assured Nigerians that the Federal Government is working assiduously to provide additional coaches for the Abuja-Kaduna Rail line and also coaches to service the Lagos – Ibadan rail line upon completion.
He made this known while commenting on a motion moved by Senator Ali Ndume titled “Urgent Need To Increase The Number Of Coaches To The Abuja-Kaduna Rail Line”.
Senator Ndume’s motion was necessitated by the challenges being faced by passengers due to shortage of coaches.
Ashafa in his comments notified the Senate that additional coaches are on its way. He said “Distinguished Colleagues by virtue of my position as the Chairman Senate Committee on Land Transport I am can confirm that the Federal Government, aware that the Ministry of Transport and the Nigeria Railway Corporation is very well aware of the situation at the Abuja-Kaduna Rail line.”
He said “As I speak with you there is presently a contract between the Federal Government and the Chinese Railway Rolling stock Corporation (CRRC) Tangshan Co., Ltd to manufacture and deliver to Nigeria 64 coaches. These coaches are presently under construction”.
“I was a part of the delegation that visited China in 2017 to inspect these coaches, and just last week I was also a part of the delegation that visited china again to see the extent of work done and to find out the reasons for the delay in completing the work”.
“The challenge being faced is funding of the contract. However, we are expecting delivery of 12 coaches out of the 64 coaches being manufactured in about 8 weeks time. When they arrive same will be dispatched to the Abuja-Kaduna rail line to provide more efficient service”.
“In the meantime what the Hon. Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi is doing to counter the challenge of Abuja Kaduna Rail line is to bring three coaches from the Itakpe – Warri rail line which is presently not providing much service to ease the pressure at the Abuja-Rail line”.
Ashafa is known to be a staunch supporter of the rail revitalisation agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari. This has seen him on the floor of the Senate defending and canvassing for approval of loan requests by the executive to finance construction of rail ways and also canvassing for increased budgetary allocations for the Ministry of Transport to ensure that rail way projects embarked upon receives adequate funding to ensure its completion.