Like never before, development is fast spreading in the transportation sector. This will definitely improve the living standard of Nigerians and boost the economy generally.
Another good news is that, soon, Nigeria will be ranked among nations with the most affordable and efficient rail transport system.
Aside from achieving a good transportation system in the country, projects embarked upon by the Ministry of Transportation through the indefatigable Minister Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi would address the problems of unemployment in the country.
For instance, the Rail projects, when completed are expected to employ over ten thousand Nigerians. This will to an extent reduce crime and criminality.
Accordingly, In line with the present administration’s commitment to localize content, Amaechi is ensuring that maintenance, operation and repair of the entire Rail system does not rest on the Chinese but on Nigerians themselves.
It is on this premise that the Federal Ministry of Transportation engaged in discussion with experts in the Rail sector to build a Transportation University for the country.
Already, about three hundred Nigerian students on government scholarship are in China studying different courses in Railway Engineering. They would upon graduation automatically be employed to teach Railway Engineering in the Transportation University.
According to Amaechi “The truth is that we lack the skill for the maintenance and operation of the Railway system in Nigeria. Over a long period of time the manpower eroded. What we are doing now is that we have agreed that the Chinese company that is going to build the Lagos-Kano Railway would also build the University of Transportation “.
“In this University, you have Aviation, Maritime and Railway. We cannot continue to depend on the Chinese whenever anything goes wrong with the train. If you go to Lagos to see the Railway in Ebute -Meta, you will find all sort of things they bought under Abacha that are not in use, this we want to stop”, he said.
The importance placed on Railway transportation by the present administration cannot be overemphasized as the University will be the first in the country to offer courses and award degrees in Railway Engineering .
Engr. Baba Kobi, Director Rail Services in the Ministry has this to say. “As a means of having the facility to improve on capacity and enhance local content in Railway Engineering you need to produce the required level of experts. I don’t know if there is any Nigerian University that is offering it as a course”.
“We have recognized Railway as a very important infrastructure to improve on our economy which is also the desire of Nigerians at this point in time. Railway has become a major backbone of our economy, so it follows logically that we must have the local content in terms of knowledge and capacity, to plan, build and operate the railway and that is where the idea and concept of Transportation University came about”.
“We have looked at the possibility of engaging the interested investors in the sector to add to their content, support for local capacity building in form of Transportation University. This is primarily the issue, It means that we may not have to bring the resources for this purpose, may be just to provide the support in terms of legislature and regulatory”.
“From the need assessment , the little we have done is that the catchment area for students should be just like any conventional University in Nigeria where they would go through the necessary procedure for admission”, he said.
Kobi also added that, “This does not mean that the University cannot organize Short Courses for people to enhance their knowledge and capacity. Therefore, like any other conventional University they can develop diploma courses especially for Railway Engineering. So, for us in the transportation sector, we will have the opportunity to realize the establishment of the University. For instance, all the projects that are coming under the CCECC, they are handling two major Rail Modernization projects for us which is the Lagos-Kano and Lagos-Calabar projects. These two projects, we have an understanding that they will establish a Transportation University for Nigeria”, he explained.
On this note however, barely three weeks after he led Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo to perform the ground-breaking ceremony of the Wagon Assembly Plant in Kajola,Ogun State, Amaechi will again on Monday 2nd December, 2019 in company of other top Ministry officials arrive Daura,Katsina State to welcome President Muhammadu Buhari to perform the ground-breaking of the first Transportation University in Nigeria.
Okpara, an aide of the Minister writes from Abuja