BY JONATHAN NDA- ISAIAH, Abuja
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has hinted that the federal government would increase transportation fare on the Kaduna-Abuja rail line.
He spoke to State House correspondents yesterday ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s planned commissioning of 10 new coaches and two locomotives for the Kaduna-Abuja train service tomorrow in Kaduna.
He said the commissioning will bring the total number of coaches to 14 on the Kaduna-Abuja route.
The minister explained that the arrangement will be able to discharge the passengers’ pressure on the rail transport and halt the incidence of ticket racketeering.
He said, “When demand outstrips supply then you see all sorts of attempts to cheats the passengers. There are two things I know the president likes, I have mentioned one.
“The second one, is after commissioning even the passengers agree that the cost of transportation to Kaduna via the railway is a bit too cheap. So, there will be a need to increase the price of the cost and then there will be more comfort. More comfort in the sense that when you have excess seats multiply by the number of passengers that will come, then anybody that wants to racketeer will have to eat the tickets himself.”
The minister who declined to disclose the new fare on the route said one of the locomotives will be dedicated for a non-stop direct trip from Kaduna to Abuja.
“That should be doing 1:15 or 1:20 minutes non-stop. That will enable those living in Kaduna and working in Abuja to actually come to work on time. If you leave at 6am by 7:15, 7:20 you should be in Abuja,” he said.
He also renewed his rivalry with Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike as he tasked the governor to up his ante in the provision of good governance for the people rather than engage in breeding militants in Rivers State in the name of politics.
Recall that 21 Rivers State residents were killed on their way back from a Cross Over service last Sunday.
He urged Governor Wike to jettison his PDP verses APC disposition and work hard to provide dividends of democracy for Rivers people or quit the office.
”I think the governor needs to get a bit more serious, he should stop encouraging the militant groups in the name of politics and election. You heard about 21 only in Omoku, what about in Akutoru where two persons were killed, what about other LGAs. I think there should be much more than age to qualify to be a governor because it takes much more than age.
“I was governor of Rivers State, I did not play PDP/APC politics, life is life it has no symbol. Nobody has APC life or PDP life. The first responsibility of a governor which is what the oath of office requires, is that you swear to protect lives and property.
“When you don’t protect life and property what do you do? Is impeachment. Unfortunately there is no House of Assembly in Rivers State,” he said.
The minister further said the governor should focus on human capacity development as against what he described as “noise” currently emanating from his administration.
“Too much noise coming from Rivers State, the governor just wakes up and starts shouting, abusing people that’s all he does. Mr Project painting roads, the first thing you do is human capacity development and keeping human beings and we are losing lives every day,” he said.
He added that, “Two important men were kidnapped before I left Port Harcourt, the first person is Chief Adoke till today, and nearly one month after nobody can tell you where he is. The next person is Chief Omogu was kidnapped luckily the villagers ran after the people and rescued the old man from the bush.
“It never happened when I was governor. We (the security and myself) ensured that we will not sleep at night. We stayed awake for the citizens to sleep, I think the governor needs to do much more than that or quit the office.”
On what he thought was lacking in Wike, he retorted, “I just don’t know!”
“Because the things are there for him to work with. He is not like me when during my second term the President Goodluck Jonathan took away Police, SSS, the Army brigade commander couldn’t visit me. But in his case, everyone is disposed to him.
“He can see the commissioner of Police, director SSS, unlike my period, but we fought insecurity. But because he needs these people for election purpose that is why they are still there, that is why they are killing, we need much more than that.
“I swore not to be talking about Rivers anymore but you don’t keep quite in the face of 21 lives, you can’t just keep quite.
“I have said it that nobody should criticise his successor, let him do his beat. But a successor that watches the lives of people go like that and does not care? God will bless him,” Amaechi said.