The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has declared its preparedness to demolish all illegal structures built on the corporation’s properties.
The structures include residential buildings, shops, Kiosks, hotels, workshops, markets, churches and mosques, among others.
The Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Ibrahim Bio, according to a statement issued by his press secretary, Mr Biodum, Oladunjoye, he condemned the encroachment on the railway properties by individuals and organisations.
“It is quite alarming to state that as at today the landed properties of the NRC across the federation have been encroached upon.
“Structure such as residential houses, shops, kiosks, hotels, workshops, markets, churches, mosques and even tank farms have been built illegally on the properties”, he said.
The minister however, regretted that such encroachment was fuelled by years of neglect and long lease to individuals without proper monitoring. “The long period of inactivity of the NRC and inability of government to revive rail transportation has exacerbated the situation”, he said.
The minister, who has already inaugurated a six-member committee to assess the situation, said it was imperative that the impediments be removed in view of the planned reactivation of the railway system and inclusion of railway rehabilitation in President Yar’Adua’s Seven-Point Agenda.
The committee, chaired by Mr Abdullahi Othman with representatives from the Ministry of Lands and that of Works and Housing, is expected to take an inventory of all NRC land and landed properties across the country as well as ascertain those under leasehold or any third party encumbrance or any other form of appropriation suhc as sales, letting, rent or hire.
The committee will also ascertain whether approval was granted by duly constituted authority for the use of the properties and establish how much accrued to the corporation from the transactions. It was also asked to investigate and establish the nature and extent of lease agreement entered into between the Railway Property Management Company Limited (RPMCL) and any other company or individual.
Bio urged the committee to investigate the petitions and allegations received so far on the NRC and make recommendations.
Meanwhile, news reports say the NRC Board had undertaken similar investigation in 2002. the committee discovered that the corporation was losing more than N6 billion accruable revenue annually on its properties.