Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila
By EricJames Ochigbo
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate alleged ticket racketeering by operators of the Abuja and Kaduna railway stations.
The resolution was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Zayyad Ibrahim (APC – Kaduna) at the plenary, on Tuesday.
Moving the motion earlier, Ibrahim recalled that the Abuja-Kaduna train services were officially commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari on 26 July 2016, to provide an alternative to road transportation in the area.
He said that there had been a tremendous increase in passengers at Idu and Kubwa stations in Abuja, as well as at Rigasa in Kaduna, due to increased patronage following security challenges on the Abuja and Kaduna Expressway.
The lawmaker said that the increase in passengers had led to ticket racketeering, an ugly practice that led to the arrest of five suspects in 2019 by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“On 21 January 2021, the Minister of Transportation officially launched the automated e-Ticketing System to address complaints of ticket racketeering operated by Secured 18 Company Limited, a private firm, under a Public-Private-Partnership with the Federal Government for N900million, which the concessionaire is expected to pay back in 10 years.
“The e-Ticketing System for the Abuja-Kaduna train services enabled commuters to book tickets online, thus curbing ticket racketeering and the stress of purchasing tickets at the train stations.
“Concerned that ticket racketeering, which the e-Ticketing System sought to eradicate, is still going on unabated, as tickets can no longer be adequately accessed online due to the mischievous activities of some people, who buy wholesale tickets and resell to passengers at exorbitant prices.
“Taking cognizant of the fact that if the activities of racketeers are not curbed, passengers will continue to be denied the privilege of accessing the train services as, sometimes, a train may leave the station without carrying the required number of passengers, because the tickets are not accessible or affordable to the majority of passengers,’’ he said.
The House urged the management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to strengthen its internal mechanisms to eradicate ticket racketeering.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila mandated the Committee on Land Transport to investigate the matter and report back within two weeks for further legislative action.