By Fatai Abdullahi
The Federal Government has ordered two additional coaches for the Abuja-Kaduna rail service route to solve the passengers’ upsurge.
Mr Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, gave the directive on Monday during the monthly inspection of the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan rail line at Ologueru, Ibadan.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there was an upsurge of passengers on the Abuja-Kaduna train service due to the activities of kidnappers along the Abuja-Kaduna road.
Amaechi said the Nigerian Railway Corporation would move two additional coaches from Itakpe-Warri rail lines to that route.
He also warned that staff caught in illegal sales of tickets would be arrested and prosecuted accordingly.
“We are going there to arrest anyone caught up with tickets racketeering. The long queue at that axis is because coaches are not enough.
“The reason we bought those coaches was for people to sit down. But people are standing, they shouldn’t stand. But, I have directed that we should move two coaches from Itakpe-Warri to Kaduna-Abuja. Today is the first day that I will be giving this directive.
“The first directive I gave was to move two coaches from Itakpe-Warri to Lagos. When we saw the problem today, I told the MD, to move two coaches to Kaduna from Itakpe-Warri because, there are no much passengers in that axis,” he said.
Amaechi stated that it would be difficult to manage and control passengers standing in the train because of the upsurge.
“The long term plan is that we are going to China between 24th and 30th to inspect the new coaches and locomotives we are buying for Lagos-Ibadan.
“We may be under pressure to put that on the Abuja-Kaduna route and if we do that, that would reduce the pressure at the moment, when there are more coaches and locomotives, the pressure will cool down,” he said.
Amaechi, said that until there is a connection between Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri to Lokoja and Abuja that is when more passengers would use the train on that axis.
“The plan is on for the connectivity from Warri-Itakpe-Lokoja and we are talking to someone who want to build a park at Itakpe to carry passengers by road to Abuja, pending when we get approval and funding to link Abuja to Itakpe.”