15th March, 2022
By Femi Ogunshola
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the circumstances that led to a train conveying passengers from Lagos to Ibadan running out of fuel midway during the journey.
This followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance by Rep. Ndudi Elumelu, the minority leader of the House on Tuesday in Abuja.
In his motion, Elumelu said that the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) was for the purposes of easy and cheap movement of bulk goods and commuters from hinterlands to seaports and vice versa.
He said that its first rail business activities commenced with the construction of the Lagos and Ibadan rail line.
He said that in recent times, there had been a series of media reports of how passenger trains breakdown in the middle of nowhere for lack of maintenance.
The lawmaker noted that this had subjected commuters to possible attacks by hoodlums who could brutalise, maim and cart away hard-earned monies and goods of innocent Nigerians.
“Another sad episode happened on March 11, where a train conveying passengers and goods from Lagos to Ibadan came to a halt midway due to insufficient fuel.
“This has once again endangered the lives of innocent Nigerian travellers on the trip,” he said.
The lawmaker said that the NRC needed to improve services in the area of ticket racketeering and hoarding to the public.
According to him, this undermines government revenue which has inhibited target loan repayment and constituted economic sabotage.
”Such episode exposes the carelessness, irresponsibility and incompetence of the management of NRC to effectively and efficiently manage the sector.
“For a train to leave the station with insufficient fuel only to get stuck midway into the journey with traumatised and stranded passengers, is a huge national embarrassment,” he said.
Rep. Elumelu said that this did not only make the country a laughing stock in the eyes of the international community but was a case of complete system failure.
He observed that the excuse by Mr Fidelis Okhiria, NRC Managing Director, was not just laughable but pointed to the inability of the management to effectively conduct routine standard operational checks.
The lawmaker further said the development had raised serious issues about the safety and reliability of the country’s rail services which should be seriously investigated.
He further said that if the careless act by the NRC was not effectively tackled and nipped in the bud, it could one day lead to a major disaster.
He added that as a result, innocent Nigerians would end up losing their lives, hence the need for this motion.
The House, therefore, resolved that an ad-hoc committee be set up to do a status inquiry of NRC and its inadequacies and report back to the house within four weeks.