By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The President General of the Nigeria Union of Railway merkers (NUR) Mr Innocent Ajiji has said that the Nigeria Railway Workers were the most poorly paid of all parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Transportation and urged the Federal Government to as part of its railway sector Intervention, look into the unfortunate development.
Mr Ajiji spoke on Thursday during the 4th Quadrennial National Delegate Conference of the Nigeria Union of Railway Workers (NUR) held at the Unity Wonderland Hotel, Kafanchan, Jema’a local government area of Kaduna State.
“Succinctly put, Nigerian Railway Workers deserve financial and welfare upgrade that will serve as motivation to make careful and judicious use of the infrastructural repositioning efforts of the federal government on the industry.
“Modern daily system and equipment purchase in millions of dollars and entrusted to the hands of poorly remunerated, displeased and unmotivated workforce does not correlate,” he said.
Mr Ajiji who commended the present administration enumerated the strides recorded in the sector to include; completion and operation of 186km Abuja (Idu)- Kaduna standard gauge railway, upgrading of 327km Itakpe-Aladja (Warri) to passenger train service and commencement of operation on same with a branch line to deep sea port and extension from Itakpe to Abuja.
Others according to him included; ongoing construction of Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge with approval for its continuation from Inbadan to Kano saying these were verifiable testimonial and credits earned by the present administration.
The President General, then, congratulated Mr Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation over his reappointment saying the Union was hopeful the Minister would finish the projects he had begun including; ongoing modernization projects and possible rebuild poor condition and remuneration of the railway workers.
Mr Emmanuel Henry, the District Chairman of NUR, North/Central District in a welcome address said the event was historic as it was the first to be held in the District, adding, “the conference will undoubtedly, address myriad of issues and many challenges facing the Railway Workers of today.
Mr Henry further expressed optimism that the new leadership would bring about a radical and ideological change in the social system throughout the nook and crevice of the world which ultimately would lead to the Independence and liberation of the people.
Mr Alimiko Bichi, the Railway District Manager (RDM) of Bauchi in a paper delivered at the occasion identified the role of technology transfer as key in the future of Railway in Nigeria, adding, “Railway has not improved in Nigeria due to poor infrastructure and low patronage.
Mr Bichi recommended that as part of measures to improve the sector, there was need for seriousness to ensure implementation of technical know-how, development of engineering workshops including staff training especially in all areas of technology to meet best global practices.
In his address, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi who was represented by Dare Ode, Deputy Director of Rail Transport noted that the Federal Government was pursuing vigorously, the 25-year plan for the revitalize the rail sector and employed the new leadership of NUR to channel it’s efforts towards achieving modern railways in Nigeria.
The occasion which witnessed a unanimous confirmation of the position of the President General of the NUR on Mr Innocent Ajiji for a four-year tenure, witnessed representatives of the various Unions of the NUR across the Country including other sister Unions and persons from all works of life.