Buhari administration, blessing to rail transport sector — Union

Supreme Desk
25 May 2023 2:54 PM GMT
Buhari administration, blessing to rail transport sector — Union
"What he has achieved for the rail transport sub-sector in Nigeria is enormous and highly commendable."

The Nigeria Union of Railway Workers (NUR) has described the eight-year administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as a huge blessing to the rail transport sub-sector.

The NUR Secretary-General, Mr Segun Esan, made this known in an interview on Thursday in Lagos.

“Under Buhari’s regime, the infrastructural deficits the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has suffered for a long time was significantly rolled back.

“This was with the construction from scratch, the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway, which he diligently completed and even operated all within his tenure in office as the president.

“He completed Abuja-Kaduna Railway and commenced its operation.

“Also, he revolutionised Warri-Itakpe-Ajaokuta standard railway and today, these three rail lines or services are the flagship and epicentre of the operational efficiency of the corporation,” Esan said.

The secretary-general also said that under Buhari’s watch, a railway technology university was established in Nigeria.

According to him, the institution will ultimately serve as fountain of manpower and intellectual development for the growth and advancement of railway technology and business in Nigeria.

“He built a wagon assembly plant in Kajola in collaboration with the Chinese, where all configurations of freight wagons will be assembled for Nigerian Railway use.

“The plant will also supply wagons to some African States with prospects of inspiring railway development across Africa.

“What he has achieved for the rail transport sub-sector in Nigeria is enormous and highly commendable.

“No doubt, President Buhari has demonstrated his passion for a better and stronger rail transport mode in Nigeria with all these epochal achievements,” Esan said.

The labour leader urged the incoming government of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to continue from where Buhari stopped by constructing at least 2,500 km standard gauge of rail track across the country.

“By so doing, infrastructural base of the industry will be further entrenched and consolidated,” he added.

Esan also urged the incoming administration to give priority to the welfare and wellbeing of railway workers by approving a special salary regime for the railway industry.

“The administration should endeavour to give the railway workers a living wage through the creation of a special salary structure for the railway.

“This is because, railway is a specialised field, just like medicine and air transport.”

Esan said that the NRC should be upgraded to either a commission or authority with independent budget line.

According to him, living rail transport under the purview of Federal Ministry of Transportation had over the years truncated its growth.

“More importantly, all the training schools of the Nigerian Railway Corporation should be upgraded to ND and HND awarding institutions to complement the University in Daura, in serving as the intellectual bedrock of the corporation,” he added.

The scribe advised the Tinubu administration to work closely with labour unions in the sub-sector to enhance the development of rail transportation in the country.

“This inclusivity has worked across the world in bringing about a sustainable rail transport sub-economy and it cannot fail in Nigeria if applied,” Esan said.

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