To mitigate the adverse effects of the removal of fuel subsidies, the House of Representatives urged the Federal Government to invest more in infrastructure, technology, and enhanced modes of transportation; construct and expand an integrated urban mass transit system; and create jobs. In May, the Federal Government suddenly announced the subsidy removal, which was originally scheduled to expire in June 2023. The motion referred to as the “Establishment of Urban Mass Transit in Nigeria, to Cushion the Effects of Fuel Subsidy Removal on Nigerians,” sponsored by Rep. Ginger Obinna Onwusibe, is in response to the difficulties that this has caused for the country’s citizens.
Additionally, Onwusibe pointed out that the enormous increase in transportation expenses caused by the elimination of the fuel subsidy has had a negative impact on the standard of living in Nigeria. He proposed that a successful urban mass transit system would provide alternatives to transportation that were reliable and reasonably priced, and environmentally friendly. This would reduce the strain on those who were adversely affected by the subsidies. He also stated that such a system would enhance mobility, reduce traffic, and increase economic production in the nation’s major cities.
Nigerians will enjoy a more accessible and affordable transport service.
They emphasised that if the system is properly administered, it will have a good effect on the lives of ordinary Nigerians by providing them with more accessible mobility. As part of the adoption of the motion, the House also gave the Committee on Land Transport the responsibility of ensuring that it is put into effect when it is subsequently established. Senator Fadeyi Olubiyi, who also sponsored the motion, states that about four separate attacks on trains have occurred in Nigeria in the past several months, resulting in a 125.6 percent drop in rail passenger travel in the second quarter of 2022.
These were the concerns that were included in the motion that was by Senator Fadeyi Olubiyi of PDP, Osun Central, and it was on the immediate need for restoring the country’s rail project from disaster. Sen. Olubiyi pointed out that data on rail transport from the National Bureau of Statistics show a drop in passenger numbers in Nigeria’s rail industry as a result of repeated attacks on trains transporting passengers and rail equipment. In addition, he provided an overview of the numerous amounts that have been invested, which include debts for the various railway projects.
A decrease of 63.02% is recorded compared to the previous year.
Therefore, the Senate has requested that the Federal Ministry of Transportation conduct a review of the modernisation projects being undertaken by Nigeria Railway in order to improve the safety and security of commuters, as well as to increase revenue production and passenger engagement. This is because it mandated its Committee on land transport, when it was finally constituted, to carry out oversight to establish the feasibility of the nation’s rail project and guarantee that the income generation structure is suitable for its intended use.
More so, huge amounts of funds, including loans, were invested in train projects in Nigeria; nevertheless, worrying statistics indicate that only N768.44 million was obtained from passengers, which is a decrease of 63.02% in comparison to the N2.08 billion that was received during the same quarter of the previous year, 2021. Also, the construction of the 156-kilometre rail line between Lagos and Ibadan by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) will cost the Federal Government around $2.5 billion, while the construction of the 186-kilometre rail line between Abuja and Kaduna will cost $874 million (N317.3 billion).
Lack of transparency is impeding the country growth.
Lastly, Senator Abdul Ningi of PDP, Bauchi Central, spoke in favour of the motion by noting that about N5 billion debt was also incurred to repair the Osun State railway. These issues have arisen because of a lack of transparency. The National Assembly’s oversight is a major factor in the poor performance. They need the power to prosecute offenders. Also, Senator Victor Umeh of LP, Anambra Central, asked for an additional prayer pleading with the Federal Government to expand the project to incorporate the Eastern rail line. Following a voice vote called for by Senate President Godswill Akpabio, it was approved completely.