Turning around railway for sustainable development

 Bobboi Kagaima

Bobboi Kagaima

Officials of the Nigerian Union of Railway Workers (NURW) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have urged the Federal Government to maximize the railway sector, describing it as a potential source of revenue for the country. NURW Secretary General, Timothy Esan, and the TUC President, Bobboi Kagiama emphasized bumper opportunities in the railway sector that have largely remained untapped.

Railway, Esan insisted, “is all about life, it is all about improving the movability of any society that has it. We should foremost be grateful and appreciate the effort of the colonial administration for even taking it up to give us a railway.

“Though to suit their own economic selfish reason, like establishing the railway as one mode of transportation that is very effective and cheap and with which they make incursion into our rural areas as to explore for onward transportation into their own country.

“Which of course they were using to drive the things ongoing in industrial revolution in their own country and they get all these things back to us as finished product goody, Bournvita, and all other things,” he said.

Esan added that railway is a mass carrier of not only passenger but equally of goods. What will require about 500 articulated vehicles to move, will just require 1 or 2 sets of train, each carrying 20 wagons.

“Even a single train with hailing ability to carry about 40 carriage will move what over 40-50 articulated truck will move out there and if that is achieved you can imagine the number of trailers you have mapped up from our road and by doing that you have achieve some few other things”.

He said there is need for our country to embrace more of the usage of rails because it will help in reducing cost of living and will also add massively to the GDP.

As the country celebrate this years independence more attention need to be put the sector and not just seeing transportation by road through motors alone as income to the country but the usage of rails will help the roads user even to more safer, motorable and pliable also the road will be made less busy with traffic volume dropping tremendously.

“More importantly the road equally will be kept intact, there wouldn’t be any need for you to go unnecessary maintenance work on the situation now is that our road gets being dilapidated all of the time simply because it is receiving more than expected pressure from the flow of traffic from heavy duties thick that ordinarily should not have any reason going on our road, especially travelling very long distance, if the railway is there effective and efficient working’’.

He said “The country is right now at recession due to lack of many source of income, Nigeria is developed till this moment and now we have not been able to have well distributed, well connected intermodal railway system that loops every mode of transportation like for example connecting all our airport, connecting all our seaport, connecting our major terminal for passenger and goods and all now if that is achieved, the railways economic advantage will be so grossy optimized to the benefit, advantage of the entire citizenry and we should not forget to recognize our things. The train does not do the last mile. What do { mean? The railway will haul your things, your goods over a far distance than you can now use your truck to move those things to where they are actually going to be used, which will make it easier than moving it by motors”.

He added that Federal Government should face the reality by, first off, coming up with 10 to 25 year rail transport development plan/policy that must be backed by required legislation, political will, and financial prowess for continued implementation by successive govt with windows through which state can buy into the policy by driving rail transport development within their domains.

“The basis of the policy should be that Nigerian Railway, within set years, should meet certain developmental targets and also government need to equip the Railway with needed motive power base, coaching facilities, wagons and recovery machinery. Through this policy, rail will link to our seaports, airports and production terminals like Guinness, Dangote, Portland cement, Fajana cement, etc”.

• NURW scribe, Timothy Esan, and TUC President, Bobboi Kagiama spoke with Toyin Olasinde

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