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In a bizarre twist, the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, On Tuesday announced that he never knew the railways as a means of transport efficiently existed in Nigeria.
The minister who stated this when he and other officials of the ministry toured the facilities of the Nigerian Railways Corporation (NRC) in Lagos, added that the government would concentrate on building standard gauge railway lines that would befit Nigeria status as a developing economy as well as compliment it.
Amaechi said: “In fact, I think we have a problem; most people don’t believe that the railway transport is functioning in Nigeria. I didn’t even know, until I started this tour, I never knew that the railway was functioning, it was even from his (MD’s) speech that I learnt that there are some coaches or services that go to Kano or Port Harcourt or elsewhere.”
According to him, “The federal government will concentrate on standard gauge of the railways, because it is critical that Nigeria becomes one of the countries founded on standard gauge. The only time I had seen railways (trains) or the coaches was one or two days in Lagos, and I thought it started from the beginning of Lagos to the end of Lagos.
“So we need to make people become more aware that the narrow gauge is working, and that people can still use it to travel around that country. There was a joke somebody told me that it takes three days to reach Kano from Lagos on the narrow gauge, and when I asked the managing director of NRC, he said no, it takes one and half days; I said: ‘what’s the difference between three days and one and a half days?’ So that is why the government has to reemphasise on the need for the construction of the standard gauge to help boost the economy.”
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