By Fidelis Ugbomeh
Against the backdrop of the ongoing construction of a temporary bridge by Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) at Ndafun-Talaba section of Niger State to facilitate resumption of the suspended passenger and freight train service from Lagos to Kano, the Nigerian Union of Railway Workers has attributed the increasing spate of train accidents to poor maintenance culture on the part of some officials of the Corporation..
Reacting to the statement credited to the Corporation that the washout at Ndafun was caused by a heavy rainfall, President General of the Union Comrade Saidu Garba said the impact of the washout could have been reduced if regular inspection of tracks had been carried out by designated officers.
He noted that the culture of manual inspection of railway lines as was the case in the past has been undermined since the works department of the Corporation was scrapped.
“Hitherto inspector of the works department are designated to inspect tracks within a stipulated distance and report back to the Distrct Engineer wherever cracks, broken timbers and lose nuts are observed for prompt repairs to be carried out,” Saidu declared.
Saidu noted that “the bridge linking Jebba and Mokwa was built by the British colonialists in the late fifties and since then trains have been running on the bridge without any rehabilitation or retooling.”
According to him, there are no proper channels built at strategic location like Jebba, Minna, Mokwa and Ebute-Metta Junctions to channel water whenever there is a heavy downpour.
He also disclosed that in 2013 the Corporation imported about 30 mobile trollies but that the trollies were seldom used to inspect the tracks.
It is recalled that the Managing Director of the Corporation Engr. Fidet Okhiria had on June 16, 2017 told the media that the Corporation would suspend passenger and freight train service from Lagos to Kano for two weeks to facilitate construction of a temporary bridge.