The Association of Nigeria Railway Senior Citizens (ANRSC) has frowned at the sale of staff quarters to Chinese investors, urging President Buhari to find a lasting solution to the lingering railway staff quarters’ monetisation issue.
Addressing reporters in Enugu during the protest, the Eastern District Chairman of the Association, Monday Nnona, alleged that the NRC management, through its agents, trespassed into their quarters, beginning from railway compound in Lagos, by carving out parcels of land and selling them to “so-called Chinese investors” as against the interest of Nigerians.
ANRSC also appealed with President Buhari to direct the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and the management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation to put a stop to the ongoing nationwide demolition of structures in the Railway compounds.
According to him, the action also subsisting judgement of the National Industrial Court, which had ordered the management to sell the quarters to the staff in accordance with the Federal Government’s monetisation policy as implemented by other federal agencies since 2005.
Also speaking in the same vein, the immediate past President General of Nigerian Railway Workers and former Chairman African Railway Union, Comrade Raphael Benjamin Okoro, said: “In spite of the case still pending in Appeal Court, they have served staff and retirees notice to remove the structures, contending that they have no right to come and remove any structure in the quarters because we are the judgement creditors and everything in the land is part of the land, the quarters allocated to us is inclusive of land and all the appurtenances, they cannot come and carve out some areas and sell.
One of the protesters, who identified himself as Baba Bankole, said: “If the NRC management is sincere, what are they doing in people’s private compounds? Why are they interested in clearing the land of judgement creditors?”
The workers had in 2011 instituted a suit against the management of NRC and the Federal Government over the sale of their official quarters to cronies and foreigners. The sale of the official accommodation to staff was in line with the monetisation policy of the Federal Government. The Secretary-General of Nigerian Union of Railway Workers, Comrade Segun Esan, last year in Lagos said the minister should fight for workers’ and Railway retirees’ welfare and not destabilise the court process over issues affecting them.
The Chinese investors are here to build a better means of transportation that could save lives from the daily road accidents we hear.
We want to progress and development but nobody wants to sacrifice for the development.