Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said the train fares between Kaduna and Abuja were increased because a majority of those using the service are rich.
Speaking on Thursday at the 3rd edition of the Kaduna Investment Summit, Amaechi said the intention of the president towards the railway was to transport poor people.
“Some of you have been asking why we increased the fare between Kaduna and Abuja,” he said during his address at the summit.
“For each locomotive, we spend N56 million, when we were charging you N600, we were getting N16 million so all you rich men, we were dashing you N40 million per month. Actually, very few poor men use those trains. The actual intent of the president is to allow us to move poor people from Kaduna to Abuja. If you go to Rigasa, you will see the big men pack their cars and use the railway and chase away the poor people.
“So since it’s big men that use the railway, we jerked up the prices. You know what it’s called — appropriate pricing. So we price according to your pocket but it does not affect our subsidy, we still subsidise the railway.”
The minister encouraged people to continue making government accountable saying he is the first to know when locomotives are faulty.
“The funny thing about the social media is that anytime there is a problem with the railway, the first person to know is me,” he said.
“I see all sorts of videos and I wonder if they realise that I am the minister for transport not the managing director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation so I can’t run the railways.
“In the past, none of you can send a video to a minister but now you not only send, they direct me on what to do. I urge you to continue in that light and make us accountable to you.”