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Buhari inaugurates Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Nigeria’s first standard gauge rail

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday inaugurated the 326km Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line for commercial operation and directed the Ministry of Transportation to ensure that all the nation’s ports are linked to the rail line.
He listed the ports to be linked to the rail network as Apapa, Tin Can, Warri, Onne and Calabar ports.
He also directed that the Itakpe-Warri rail line should be extended to the northern region of the country before the expiration of his tenure in 2023.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed these in a statement titled “After 30 years in limbo, President Buhari inaugurated 326Km Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line for commercial operation.”

“At the virtual opening of the rail line linking Itakpe to Warri, President Buhari directed the Federal Ministry of Transportation to link all the nation’s ports of origin and destination – Apapa, Tin Can, Warri, Onne, Calabar Ports- to the rail network in order to significantly improve overall transportation and economic capacities.

“The President declared that his administration recognised the importance of the railway mode of transportation as a vital backbone to support industrialisation and economic development,” the statement read.
The President also said, “Accordingly, I have approved the prioritisation of viable railway routes for either new rail lines or the reconstruction and rehabilitation of some, to achieve effective and efficient train services supporting the country’s trade and commerce.

“The railway Infrastructure that I have the honour to commission today is the rail line from Itakpe via the steel town complex of Ajaokuta to Warri, and is an important link for the country’s economy as the central rail line.
“This government has also approved to link this line further from Itakpe to Abuja, thereby, connecting the northern zone of the country and also extending southwards to link the Warri ports.”
According to the statement, the President expressed confidence that the project, which serves as a vital link of South-South geopolitical zones of the country to the northern zones, would be completed during the tenure of this administration.

”It will link people across the cultural divides and expand the frontier of trade and commerce, which will lead to better standards of living for our citizens,” he said.

Buhari urged operators in the transportation industry, especially the railway subsector, to continue to support government in its stride to achieve other railway infrastructure projects.

He said, ”I implore those who work on this line to uphold maintenance and safety culture necessary for long-lasting service in this difficult terrain.

”By the same token, I urge other sectors who will be primary beneficiaries of this transportation backbone, including, the iron and steel sector, stakeholders in agricultural and mining sectors on this corridor, as well as the host communities to protect and sustain this infrastructure and maximize the benefits that could be derived from it and which is readily available at their doorsteps.

”This project will increase the volume of their trade and kick-start and resuscitate the iron and steel complexes.

”All these, I hope will improve our industrial potentials and capacities as well as boost employment,’’ he said.

Buhari said the new rail line was expected to move about one million passengers annually and 3.5 million tonnes capacity of freight.

He congratulated the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and his team. on successfully completing the project.
He also commended the host communities for their cooperation during the completion work by the Federal Government.
He said that his administration would continue to judiciously connect commercial and industrial hubs to boost trade, generate wealth and create employment.

Railway

Buhari flags off Kano-Kaduna rail construction, to link Tin Can Port

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Kano to get Nigeria’s biggest train station
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday performed ground-breaking ceremony of 203.8km standard gauge Kano-Kaduna rail line, which he said would be linked with the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos.

A mega railway station is to be constructed at Zawachiki, Kano State, which will be the biggest train station in Nigeria.

Buhari said the railway station would be strategically located adjacent to the Dala Inland Dry Port in Kano.
The rail project is the third segment of the Lagos-Kano standard gauge railway modernisation project.
The first segment (Abuja-Kaduna) and the second segment (Lagos-Ibadan) were inaugurated for commercial operations in July 2016 and June 2021 respectively.
The President said his administration recognised rail transportation as a potent economic driver and as such, has accorded railway infrastructure development the greatest priority.
“The take-off of construction activities on this segment of Lagos-Kano vividly represents the commitment of this administration in the revival of the Nigerian railway system to reduce the deficiency in our transportation infrastructure and drive effective and more efficient transportation of passengers and freight within the country,” Buhari said.
“This project is crucial to the establishment of a supply chain in railway transport within its corridor, Kano-Kaduna-Abuja, as it links the major commercial cities of Kano and Kaduna to the federal capital territory, Abuja.
“This railway connection, when completed, will establish the ports in Lagos, as the choice for import and export business of the people of landlocked Niger Republic.
“This would positively drive our economies through employment from new business opportunities and wealth creation.
“The federal ministry of transportation and ministry of finance are working to engage co-financiers to conclude financial agreements for the development of the Ibadan-Kano line and further increase the bankability of the project.
“The railway line will be linked to the second port in Lagos, the Tin Can Island port. It is also expected that the dry inland port on these routes will be activated. The ports can now receive imports directly from the international market as ports of destination.”
In his remarks, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said, “The project will improve the standard of living within this corridor, create employment…we will not employ anything less than 20,000 workers on this route. It will also promote trade.
“In the long term, the railway will help decongest the Lagos port complex and increase efficiency and as well as further increase the viability of the inland dry port located in Ibadan, Kaduna and Kano.
“The Ibadan-Abuja (railway project) will link the seaports to Maradi, Niger Republic, which I believe will greatly boost trade between the two countries and foster economic development.”
Amaechi also hinted that the Federal Government would soon construct another railway that will link Sokoto-Kebbi-Zamfara to the national railway network.
“Currently, we are awaiting the national assembly for the approval of the loan facility to continue the work from Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri,” he added.
“The work traverses Port-Harcourt, Aba Umuahia, Enugu, Markurdi, Lafia, Jos, Kafanchan-Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Damaturu, Gasua, and then Borno.”

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NUR excited about FG’s attention to railway, advises workers

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Nigeria Union of Railway Workers has expressed satisfaction and excitement at the attention being given to the Nigerian railways by the Federal Government.
It has urged its members to reciprocate the good gesture of the Federal Government on the development of the rail transport industry through diligence, punctuality and display of a high level of professionalism.
The union gave the advice preparatory to the ground-breaking ceremony of yet another standard gauge track construction project of Kano-Kaduna rail line tomorrow (Thursday).
Addressing the congress of the members of the union in Lagos, the Secretary General of the union, Segun Esan, urged the workers to show appreciation and gratitude to FG’s quest for an effective and efficient railway through various construction of standard gauge lines and equipping the industry for greater performance.
He particularly charged them on the need to protect the new and other railway facilities against theft and vandalisation.
Esan said, “The best we can do to express our profound appreciation to the Federal Government is to get committed to this work with passion and also protect the railway facilities from theft and vandalization as if it is our personal property are aware of what it takes to build a railway in terms of capital intensiveness of the development of the industry.
“This is why we must renew our enthusiasm and passion to make Nigerian people and the federal government proud by working with greater diligence and top-notch professionalism.”
He commended the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari for raising the ante by starting the construction of 190km Lagos-Ibadan (Moniya) track construction, completing it and commencing its full commercial operation.


‘’Nigerian railway workers take cognizance of the commendable feat achieved by this administration in starting the construction of Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge from the scratch and completing it and even starting the operation within its tenure. This is worthy development that has never happened in the country before.
“If all past Administrations have been this committed to the development of the railway industry, we would have had higher rail infrastructure base and greater market share of the passenger and freight presently taken by the road mode would have come to the railway and the road network would have been saved from constant dilapidation and pressure.
‘’We should recall that the spate of infrastructure development under this incumbent administration in terms of system transition from the narrow gauge railway system to standard gauge, no doubt, has been very tremendous, consistent, and way too unbelievably contrasting to what used to be the order of the day in the past when remedial approaches were explored to salvage the railway industry all to no avail.
“This administration owns the credit for the completion, upgrading, and operation of Warri-Itakpe standard gauge railway after being dug out from its complacent state spanning over 25 years and the completion/operation of Abuja – Kaduna railway which, as we stand, is the flagship of the Corporation. We have no excuse but to tap into the lofty vision and aspiration of the federal government for a better railway system by complementing its effort with a good attitude to work.”

Esan however appealed to the FG not to make the mistake made in the past whereby locomotive engines, coaches and wagons were purchased without adequate spare parts to repair and maintain the facilities bought.
He added that the welfare and salary regime of the railway workers should be reviewed with a view to using that as means to encourage and attract young and employable Nigerians to follow career paths in the system.

 

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FG still discussing with Standard Chartered over railway project loan – Amaechi

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The Federal Government is still discussing with the London-based Standard Chartered Bank to finance the Lagos-Calabar coastal rail project.
David Iyofor, media aide to the minister of transportation, confirmed this to TheCable in a text message on Monday.
Iyofor did not state the exact figure the government is planning to borrow from the London-based financial institution.
In June, Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, hinted about the federal government’s move with Standard Chartered Plc to raise about $14.4 billion to fund two rail projects.
The Standard Chartered financing is expected to replace the borrowing plan from China for the construction of rail lines in the country.
In another report, Bloomberg had quoted Amaechi in an interview that Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, is “overseeing the talks with the emerging markets-focused financial institution about arranging the infrastructure loans.”
He had said the loan would make the country move away from China in some of the projects.
The federal government is currently seeking loans to execute several rail projects in the country. These include the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, Lagos-Ibadan-Kano rail lines, and the Lagos-Calabar coastal rail project.
-TheCable

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