A Borno State lawmaker, Ali Ndume, wants the federal government to deploy more coaches to the Abuja-Kaduna rail line.
He said the deployment of more coaches will ameliorate the plight of passengers.
He made the demand on Wednesday as he recalled his last experience on the train.
Mr Ndume said he was forced to stand for two hours on a train as he journeyed from Abuja to Kaduna. He said he was given the ‘standing ticket’ because the First Class and Regular tickets were finished, alleging ticket racketeering.
In his motion titled ‘urgent need to increase the number of coaches to the Abuja Kaduna Rail Line’, he said most passengers en-route Abuja-Kaduna have turned to the railway as a safer means of transportation.
This is because the Abuja-Kaduna expressway is being threatened by kidnappers, armed robbers, and other criminals.
The lawmaker complained of rowdiness during ticket purchase and “survival of the fittest for passengers willing to buy tickets across the counter” as officials deliberately hoard and sell tickets to the highest bidders.
In his contribution, Shehu Sani (PRP, Kaduna Central), supported the motion describing the Abuja-Kaduna road as one of the most dangerous roads in Nigeria.
He said unless the federal government finds a way to curb insecurity, the train would continue to be a safe haven for both the rich and poor.
Mr Sani said whoever conceived the idea of building a train from Abuja-Kaduna has done well.
On his part, James Manager told Mr Sani that the road is not one of the most dangerous roads but “the most dangerous.”
“It is one who wants to commit suicide that will take the road. In fact, we are oppressing the poor by using the train. This is why you will see someone like Senator Ali Ndume abandon the Abuja-Kaduna road for the train.
“Something has to be done but it will take a while. That train station is very impossible to all of us. Standing in the train may also not be the solution,” he said.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transportation, Gbenga Ashafa, announced that the federal government has paid for more coaches.
“I just returned from China. We’re expecting 64 coaches but only 12 has been paid for and will be brought back to Nigeria. Our main problem is funding. If we are able to fund, we will have more locomotives.
“We should look at Warri-Itakpe railway that doesn’t have enough patronage, reduce the coaches and add to Abuja-Kaduna. About reducing the fare, let’s focus more on the coaches,” he said.
The Senate, thereafter, urged the federal government to deploy more coaches to the Abuja Kaduna Rail Line to ameliorate the plight of passengers.
It urged the Nigerian Railway Corporation to carry out a study to review the fare structure in relation to cost.
The Senate also urged the Nigerian Railway Corporation to increase the frequency on the Abuja-Kaduna rail line.