By Shola Abayomi
A Borno State lawmaker and one of the frontline contenders for the Senate Presidency, Senator Ali Ndume has requested the federal government to make more coaches available on the Abuja-Kaduna rail line.
Senator Ndume, who made the call yesterday (Wednesday) after recalling how he was issued a ‘standing ticket’ and forced to stand in train for two hours, said making more coaches available will ameliorate the plight of passengers.
Ndume, who said he was forced to stand for two hours on a train as he travelled from Abuja to Kaduna, said he was given the ‘standing ticket’ because the First Class and Regular tickets were finished.
In a motion titled ‘urgent need to increase the number of coaches to the Abuja Kaduna Rail Line’, Ndume, who also alleged staff of Nigerian Railway Corporation of involvement in ticket racketeering, said most passengers en-route Abuja-Kaduna have turned to the railway as a safer means of transportation as a result of the subsisting incidents of kidnapping and armed robbery on Kaduna-Abuja expressway.
Talking about the disorderliness in the process of buying the tickets, Senator Ndume told his colleagues that it is a “survival of the fittest for passengers willing to buy tickets across the counter” as officials deliberately hoard and sell tickets to the highest bidders.
After an extensive debate on the motion, with contributions from senators, including Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna central and Senator James Manager, Delta South, the Senate consents to the prayers of Senator Ndume and urged the federal government to deploy more coaches to the Abuja Kaduna Rail Line to ameliorate the plight of passengers.
The parliamentarians also urged the Nigerian Railway Corporation to increase the frequency on the Abuja-Kaduna rail line and review its ticket fares.