The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said the Federal Government was vigorously pursuing the 25-year plan to revitalise the rail sector.
The minister spoke at the 4th Quadrennial National Delegate Conference of the Nigeria Union of Railway Workers held at Kafanchan in the Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Amaechi, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Rail Transport at the ministry, insisted that repositioning the rail transport was part of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda in boosting the nation’s economy.
The minister, therefore, enjoined the new leadership of the Nigeria Union of Railway Workers to channel its efforts towards achieving a modern railway for the country.
The President General, NUR, Innocent Ajiji, said the railway workers remained the worst paid workers under the Ministry of Transportation in the country.
He said as part of efforts to reposition the sector, the Federal Government should do the needful by addressing the salary structure of the railway workers.
Ajiji said, “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 in the industry.
“Modern daily system and equipment purchase in millions of dollars and entrusted in the hands of poorly remunerated, displeased and unmotivated workforce does not correlate.”
The NUR leader, however, commended the efforts of the present administration in raising the standard of railway transport system, highlighting some of the strides recorded in the sector as the completion and operation of 186km Abuja (Idu)- Kaduna standard gauge railway; upgrading of 327km Itakpe-Aladja (Warri) to a passenger train service; and the commencement of operation on same with a branch line to deep seaport and extension from Itakpe to Abuja.
Others, according to him, include the ongoing construction of Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge with approval for its continuation from Ibadan to Kano.