Nigeria is a country that spring surprises when one least expect them. This time, the controversial Minister of Transport, Rotimi Ameachi may not have a means to justify why the lightings and air conditioners in the train coaches plying Abuja to Kaduna and other parts of Nigeria are powered with generators after plunging billions of dollars, mostly loans from China on the project.
An investigation was launched after LeadingReporters overhead some foreigners mocking Nigeria railway system as being the most ridiculous railway system in Africa. The foreigners, who disembarked from the coach and hired an Uber Taxi to the city center were heard mocking Nigeria and the Minister of Transport on how Nigeria uses generating sets to power the lighting and the air conditioners in the coaches after plunging billions of Dollars in the project.
Our investigation revealed that the power generating sets are kept in the second coaches of the train from where it powers the lightings and Air conditioners.
Furthermore, it was learnt by our investigation team that fraud and ticket racketeering among the vendors have become a norm.
“The vendors remit daily and weekly returns to their Ogas both in the Ministry of Transport and in the company that manages the train”. A source said.
One of the vendors who was accosted by our reporter revealed the behind-the-scene activities in the station stated that ticket racketeering has become a thriving business in the station.
“All we do is to hoard the tickets till few minutes to the departure of the train. At that point, customers who want to desperately travel will buy the ticket (which is ordinarily sold at N1,500) at any rate you give it to them. Most politicians can pay any amount you tell them. So, all we need is to get information from their aides that Ogas would be travelling, we would make it available to them for as much as N15,000 to N20,000. They pay with ease and in some cases; leave some “change” for the boys. Once you sort out the Ogas in the office, you can go home and sleep as a rich guy”
While government is claiming massive investment in the transport (rail) sector for which billions of Dollars have been taken as loan from Chinese Government, it should be noted that Nigeria railway system is the most archaic and out of trend railway system in Africa. Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, Benin Republic, Rwanda and most other African countries have more innovative rail system than Nigeria, even though Nigeria spends more than these countries in the so-called rail transport innovation.
While we wallow in the self-belief that we are making headways in our transport system, it should be noted that those who benefit from our ineptitude and mediocrity are laughing at us.
Source: Leading Reporters