By Ignatius Ushie
The Federal Government has called on private investors to take advantage of the enabling environment created by the opening up of Warri-Itakpe rail corridor to establish logistics and other businesses.
The Permanent Secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, made this known over the weekend when she embarked on a fact-finding tour of the Warri-Itakpe rail line following reports of logistics shortfall and poor service delivery along the corridor.
She also invited those in the hospitality industry to set up hotels and guest houses at all the rail stations, saying: “We are trying to get private investors to at least build hotels in virtually all our stations. So, if for any reason people come in late, they can check into those hotels. Those who want to catch the early trains can also spend the night there and, in the morning, they board their train to their destination.”
Admitting to the lack of such amenities, Ajani said: “The Government can’t do everything but we are trying to see, to make sure that private individuals can come in and partner with us and build these hotels at the stations.”
Similarly, the Permanent Secretary called on the leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, to constitute themselves properly and set up motor parks where passengers can conveniently get vehicles to their destinations on disembarking from the train. This aspect too, she disclosed, is talk-in -progress as she had earlier during the 16th National Council on Transportation held in Kano met with the Union’s leadership on how to drive the initiative.
At the Dr. Olushola Saraki, Train Station, Ajaokuta in Kogi State, the youths of the community informed the Permanent Secretary that they have constituted a vigilante group to protect railway infrastructure from vandals. In the light of that, they appealed to her for assistance as it is from their meager means that this effort is being sustained.
Ajani applauded their efforts while calling on them to sustain it . She expressed regret over her inability to help them as there is no immediate budgetary provision for such venture. She, however assured that the Nigeria Railway Corporation has a similar proposal, promising that when it gets approval, those qualified would be first in the line of consideration ahead of others.