The government is taking too long to actualise the revival of the railway. I feel the Federal government does not have the capacity to deliver the rail revolution. Railway transportation in other parts of the world contributes immensely towards the attainment of economic and social goals but for a long time, that has not been the case for Nigeria. The sector is suffering from monumental neglect and corruption. The deplorable state of the Nigerian railway is discouraging despite the huge sums reportedly sunk into a number of projects meant to improve the system every now and then. I wonder why elected leaders and government appointees have chosen to play politics with an all-important infrastructural facility like the railway that should have been the springboard for the transformation of the economy.
No, I am not satisfied because our government is not putting in their best when it comes to the railway sector. In Nigeria, there has been very little development in the rail sector over the past years when compared to railways in the developed world. The 3,505 km coverage of rail services in Nigeria is low in a country with a land area of 924,000km and a population of over 160 million or thereabouts. The colonial masters who began the construction of railway lines in the country adopted the narrow gauge that does not allow speedy transport of goods and services. At the time the railway track was built, speed was not considered important. The purpose of the railway was to ensure the haulage of the country’s agricultural and mineral resources to the port for eventual transportation to Britain and the rest of Europe. However, with the current huge number of commuters in Nigeria begging to be served, it is high time the country pays more attention to its rail system as a means of mass and fast movement of people and goods.
The Buhari-led government is performing well when it comes to the railway, a lot of projectshasbeen going on in the sector. I know it will be completed soon and be ready for use before the end of the year. It is one of the top priorities of the president and he is trying his best through the Minister of Transportation to revive the Nigerian railway. I must say, there is need for government to encourage the Nigerian Railway Corporation to modernise their services by acquiring modern train coaches in order to attract more users, which in turn will make the use of private vehicles unattractive. If the Nigeria Railway Corporation becomes more efficient, it will reduce people’s dependence on private vehicles and save lives lost to accidents on our roads.
Government is not doing enough to revive the railway; they need to work hard if they are to revive the sector. Railway transportation will boost our economy, and also help the common man in terms of the movement of goods and services.
In my opinion, no. I will advise the Federal government to sign a bilateral agreement with country like India on railway matters in Nigeria.They have managed our railway system before and it worked effectively then.Railway sector alone is capable of generating over a million jobs in Nigeria if properly managed. It is obvious that our economy cannot survive without an effective railway system as it is the safest and most economical means of transportation for the masses who constitute over 90% of the country population and cannot afford traveling by air. When it comes to railway development, the government should make more realisable plans and execute them properly.
Buhari’s administration has been able to build on the progress of the previous government in the rail way sector considering the pragmatic efforts it has put in place to make it a suitable alternative for the congested roads in the country.Just recently, the Federal government approved General Electric as the concessionaire for two rail lines in the country that would gulp a whooping sum of $2.2 billion. I know this administration will overhaul the railway sector and make it better than before.This milestone project is the outcome of President Buhari’s single-minded determination to develop, upgrade and modernise Nigeria’s transport infrastructure, as well as the relentless push by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to fully deliver on the President’s vision for the sector.
The effort of this administration is not yet evident in the sector; I expected a much better performance. What we have seen so far are half-done projects and this is really affecting transportation in Nigeria. I feel the Federal government should allow private firms to bid for the rights to build and operate rail lines under the oversight of a new regulatory body in order to hasten things up. If railway modernisation and development is left in the hands of our government, it will take a longer period than expected and by the end of the year, there will be no active railway in the country. If the railways can be successfully overhauled, manufacturing will become spontaneously competitive and manufacturing exports would grow. All other sectors would benefit from the competitiveness and scale that a functioning cargo rail transport system would afford.
Yes, I am satisfied and I believe the Federal government has what it takes to revive the Nigerianrailways because the passion and commitment to get it revived has been evident so far and they are not relenting on getting the best.
The current administration needs to continue the tempo and scale up of existing rail projects and processes even while working on other sectors. A lot of progress was made by past administration and it should not be allowed to go to waste. They need to separate politics from the development of the railways, amend the railway act and most importantly open railway to cargo operations.
Well, I think the rail sector is doing fine. The aspect I think the government is not doing enough is the narrow gauge.The government is not doing much in the sense that they are negotiating with General Electric (GE) to renovate the narrow gauge and manage it under concession; this is a much longer process. The concession would see GE invest in the narrow gauge rail system that traverses almost the entire country. I know the plan of the government is to ensure that train gets to all the state capitals but they need to take one step at a time by completing one before another.
In the last three years of Buhari administration, there has been greater focus on the railway sub-sector and aviation which are regarded as key components of the transportation sector. So far the railway sector has taken the centre stage with the completion of the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line which was said to have opened Nigerians’ eyes to the possibility of an efficient rail system.In addition, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, recently flagged off the $1.5bn Lagos-Ibadan part of the standard gauge line, of which work has commenced in earnest. In order to open up the railway sector to private sector participation, the Federal Government has concessioned the narrow gauge line to General Electric (GE), an American multinational conglomerate, which is expected to drive a reform in the country’s rail sector. I remember the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said the government had settled for GE because the corporation had expressed readiness to undertake the transformation of the country’s rail system through various activities like the introduction of 20 coaches and 100 wagons, construction of a Transport University with specialisation in rail; among other activities. The concession, it was gathered, would see the GE investing over $2.2bn in the two narrow gauge lines which extend to many parts of the country. With all these in place, no doubt the present administration is doing all it takes to revive the railway in a much better way.
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