The Senate on Tuesday began a probe into the concession of the eastern and western rail lines to General Electric, a United States-based company, without following due process.
The lawmakers made the move following a motion by Senator Bassey Albert (Akwa-Ibom North-East), entitled, ‘urgent need to investigate the granting of concession of the western (Lagos-Kano) and eastern (Port Harcourt-Maiduguri) rail lines to General Electric, a US company’.
“The Senate is convinced that the Ministry of Transport has violated the provisions of the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act, 1999 by unilaterally engaging the General Electric for the concession of the western (Lagos-Kano) and eastern (Port Harcourt-Maiduguri) rail lines as evident from the above facts,” Albert stated while moving the motion.
He recalled that the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act, 1999 established the National Council on Privatisation and the Bureau of Public Enterprises for the purpose of privatisation of public enterprises.
He noted that the BPE and the Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility, upon the approval of the NCP in April 2015, developed a road map for the concession of the Lagos-Kano and Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail lines “despite the fact that the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act did not envisage a concession of the corporation until recently amended.”
Meanwhile, members of the Nigeria Union of Railway Workers and the Senior Staff Association, Nigerian Railway Corporation branch staged a protest against the planned concession of the 3,505km narrow-guage railway track to General Electric without the payment of the workers’ entitlements.