Usman Abubakar, Chairman, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), says the country will soon start assembling locomotive trains for the entire African region.
Abubakar disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Zaria during a familiarisation tour to NRC Northern District in Zaria, Kaduna State.
“Under the terms of that arrangement, locomotive engines will first start to be assembled in Zaria for Nigeria and subsequently for the whole African sub-region,” he said.
He also disclosed that the nation’s railway tracks would be concession to consortium of four foreign firms led by General Electric.
According to him, rail workers did not oppose concession of railways but only clamoured for payment of their severance package before concession.
“If you notice, the workers are not opposing it but all they are after is to be paid-off by their old employer before the new employer takes over.
“If you change employer, the previous employer must pay you your cumulative entitlements, then you can enter another agreement with the new employer,” Abubakar noted.
Earlier in his address, Abubakar told the workers not to panic as the concession would last about two years before it is finally actualised.
“It has been the tradition of people, whenever a new thing is introduced they will become apprehensive about it.”
Dr Aminu Gusau, NRC Director, Administration and Human Resources, also assured the workers that management was doing everything possible to protect their interest.
“The workers should hope for good because the Federal Government means good and once the concession is completed all railway staff will be smiling,” Gusau said.
In his address, Aliyu Mainasara, Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Railwaymen, identified concession as a major challenge for railway workers.
Mainasara advised that the concession should not be done at the expense of the poor Nigerian workers.
“We are in support of concession but pay us off before concession,” Mainasara said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Abubakar inaugurated a Motorised/Manual Sleepers Straightening Machine during the visit.