…says northerners shortchanged
Former Federal Legislator Shehu Bawa ABG has expressed concern over lack of uniformity in train service charges among different routes operated by Nigerian Railways Corporation under supervision of Ministry of Transportation, saying Rotimi Amaechi owed Nigerians, particularly Northerners explanations who he said were at the receiving end under the current arrangement.
He explained that Lagos – Ibadan passengers were charged 600 naira per trip as against their counterparts on Kaduna – Abuja route whom he said were exhobitantly charged 3000 naira for almost an equal length of journey, asking authorities in charge of the Rail transport if diesel cost is higher in the Northern part than the southern part of the country.
ABG was particularly worried about the disaffection the lopsided train fares would cause between northerners and their southern counterparts, urging the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi to urgently correct the infraction in the interest of justice and equity.
“It is baffling to me why some passengers will be made to pay lower charges while some are subjected to undue and throat-chocking charges on almost an equal stretch of journey.
“Ibadan-Lagos is 136km while Kaduna – Abuja is about 160km, the former ticket is pegged at 600 naira while the latter is three thousand naira (3000) .
“The irony is passengers on Lagos – Ibadan route are more economically bouyant than Kaduna travellers who are mostly made up of low-income earners who have been forced to use train as an alternative means of transport following rising cases of kidnapping along Kaduna – Abuja Highway.
“Kaduna passengers and people of Northwest Zone who have been subjected to higher ticket fare are instrumental to the success of this administration on the polls twice in 2015 and 2019.
“It is therefore puzzling, strange and unjust to treat them as inferiors to their counterparts in the south-west geopolitical zone.
“The Kaduna – Kano railway project that would have brought succour to people of that region has been abandoned for a reason beyond our comprehension while other regions’ projects have been concluded and new ones mobilized for their benefits. Where is the equity, which is an important ingredient in a democratic setting like ours, ” he queried.