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Nigeria turns to Europe for $1.9bn Kano-Maradi rail funding

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Construction work on $1.9bn Kano-Maradi (Niger Republic) rail line will start on Tuesday (tomorrow) after the inauguration of the project by President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said.

He also said the bulk of the funds for the project would be sourced from Europe.

Amaechi spoke on a Channels Television programme, Sunday Politics, February 7, 2021.

The project, he said, was one of Nigeria’s strategic attempts to position the country to take advantage of Niger’s landlocked status as it connects Kano to Apapa port in Lagos.

The minister said, “The project is going to cost us $1.9bn and we will source it from mostly Europe.”

The just constructed 156-kilometre Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway was funded by a $1.3 billion loan from the Export-Import Bank of China and about $182 million from the Nigerian government. Similarly, China is expected to provide 85 per cent of the $5.3bn for the construction of new Ibadan-Kano railway.

Amaechi, however, noted that the country had not secured the money, stressing that “we are about concluding.”

He had in tweet on Friday said President Buhari would on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, perform the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kano-Maradi, Kano-Dutse railway project.

This is coming after the approval of about $1.9bn by the Federal Executive Council in September 2020, for the rail line and the subsequent signing of the contract documents for the commencement of the project last month.

The minister also on the Channels TV programme spoke on how long it would take the country to repay the loan.

He said, “That is the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance. When we would pay; what are the terms of agreement for the loan and all that would be the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance.

“So, that question can be directed to the Minister for Finance. For us in Transportation, our job is to work with the Ministry of Finance to procure the loan and commence construction and we think we would commence construction on Tuesday.”

He stated that the project would open up the country to more investment, arguing that it was in Nigeria’s best interest for the Kano-Maradi railway to be constructed.

Amaechi said, “The interest is national; the interest is about Nigeria. The Maradi terminal is just 20 kilometres away from Nigeria; just 20 kilometres. So, there is no huge investment like Nigerians are thinking.”

According to the minister, the Lagos-Kano commercial corridor transports 30,000,000 tonnes of cargo annually, with only 200,000 of that currently carried by rail and the rest by road.

The railway project is expected to connect three Nigerian northern states, namely: Kano, Katsina and Jigawa and then terminate at Maradi, Niger Republic.

“We are pleased to announce the groundbreaking of the Kano-Maradi, Kano-Dutse Railway Project, slated for Tuesday, our President, Muhammadu Buhari would do the honours. Work begins,” he stated.

The Federal Government had about three weeks ago, during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with Mota-Engil Group, the contractors for the project, disclosed that the Kano-Maradi railway project would be completed within 36 months.

The rail line is expected to help Nigeria compete favourably with other coastal countries of West Africa in servicing the landlocked countries in the area of movement of cargoes and make Lagos ports viable.

 

Railway

Full operation begins on Lagos-Ibadan rail line tomorrow – NRC

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The Nigerian Railway Corporation has said it will begin full operation on the standard gauge rail line from Lagos to Ibadan on Tuesday.
The NRC said this is a statement signed by the Lagos District Manager, Mr Jerry Oche, in Lagos on Sunday.
According to him, the Lagos Ibadan Train Services will now be available in the mornings from Tuesday.
“The updated timetable for Tuesday to Friday is as follows: Lagos to Ibadan: 8:00 a:m from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Alogo megi Ebute – Meta Lagos. Also, the train will take off from Ibadan to Lagos: 8:00 am from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya.
“The train will take off from Lagos to Ibadan: 4:00 pm from Mobolaji Johnson Station Alagomji, while from Ibadan to Lagos: 4:00 pm from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya.
“The standard gauge train schedule on Saturday from Lagos to Ibadan: 8:30 am from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Alagomeji while the train will leave from Ibadan to Lagos: 8:30 am from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya.
“For Saturday evening from Lagos to Ibadan: 6:00 pm from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Alagomji, while the train will take off from Ibadan to Lagos: 6:00 pm from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya,” Oche said.
He said that the Alagomeji, Abeokuta, and Moniya were still the stop stations of the Lagos Ibadan Train Services.

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Kaduna-Kano rail construction will start this month – Amaechi

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Construction work on extension of the Abuja-Kaduna rail line to Kano will begin this June, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said on Thursday.

He disclosed this while speaking at the inauguration of the new Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line president over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos.

“We have about three or four projects. This month, we will start Kano-Kaduna and then we will also start Port Harcourt to Maiduguri which also is CCECC and then Kano-Maradi” he said.

The minister also called for the maximum utilisation of the new Lagos-Ibadan rail facility.

He said, “The celebration is not enough; it is the impact that it would have on the economy, the goods and services, the personnel it would have to move in record time.”

He however lamented the delay in the loan facility to complete the Ibadan-Kaduna rail line.

“While we are celebrating that, we are not happy that up till now the China Exim Bank is yet to approve the loan for Ibadan to Kano (rail line) because we need to start that and complete it quickly

“We are grateful that the Chinese government through the China Exim bank was able to give us the loan at a concessionary rate to construct from the seaport down to Ibadan. We hope that we get money to be able to construct from Ibadan to Kano so that we can complete the track and make sure that business takes place,” he stated.

He also said, “We got money from China Exim Bank, we paid counterpart funding. We did put pressure on the CCECC and delivered on time. In terms of quality, what we have is good.”

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We will make rail choice transport mode, says Buhari

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President Buhari on Thursday inaugurated the standard gauge Lagos-Ibadan rail line with a promise to continue the transformation of the nation’s railway system and make it a preferred choice mode of transportation for passengers and freight.

He spoke at the Mobolaji Johnson Railway Station, Ebute Metta, Lagos, venue of the new rail line inauguration.

The 157-kilometre rail line runs from Apapa-Wharf in Lagos through Ogun State and terminates in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.

The President said the completion of the rail line project was “another milestone in the drive of this administration to revitalise the railway system and establish it as a choice mode of transportation for both passengers and freight.”

He said his administration would continue to prioritise the railway system as a transportation backbone that could transform industrial and economic activity in the country.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), Femi Adesina, reported the President as speaking on the benefits of the Lagos-Ibadan corridor as well as other ongoing railway projects across the country.

He said, “This vital line establishes an end-to-end logistic supply chain in railway transport within its short corridor, Lagos-Ibadan, as goods to the hinterland would now be transported by rail directly from the Apapa port quayside straight to the inland container depot located in Ibadan from where it can be distributed to other parts of the country.

“In clear recognition of the challenges posed to our economic growth by absence of strong and effective infrastructure, we have in the rail sector, further to other ongoing railway infrastructure projects, embarked on the completion of the outstanding segment of the Lagos-Kano railway, which is Ibadan-Kano.”

The President said the double line standard gauge rail would not just terminate in Kano but link Maradi in Niger Republic and the Nigerian ports, thus making the ports preferred choice by country’s neighbour for import and export.

Buhari said, “The Lagos-Kano railway project when completed will link the Kano – Maradi line at Kano and a rail link from the Nigeria southern ports of Lagos to Maradi in Niger Republic will be achieved.

‘‘The connection through rail would position Nigerian ports as the choice for import and export business of the people of landlocked Niger Republic.

“This would be beneficial to the economy through employment from new business opportunities and wealth creation.’’

The President expressed delight that his directive to the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Finance on reaching financial agreements with appropriate co-financiers to partner with the Federal Government for the development of the Ibadan – Kano railway was yielding results.

He noted that Ibadan-Kano project would have a connection to the Tin Can Island port as well as the West-East Coastal rail line from Lagos to Calabar linking Onitsha, Benin, Warri, Yenagoa, Port Harcourt, Aba and Uyo.

‘‘From the beginning of this administration, railway infrastructure development has been given the priority it deserves and various milestones have been reached, right from when the Abuja – Kaduna railway was flagged-off for commercial operation in 2016 to this Lagos – Ibadan railway project being commissioned today for full commercial operation,” he said.

He commended the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and his “wonderful team in the ministry” for his drive and tenacity in achieving the milestone.

Earlier in his address, Amaechi had expressed profound gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for summoning the courage to take the loan from China Exim Bank to execute the rail project.

He also thanked the Chinese government for the loan while expressing hope that the Asian country would also approve the loan for the Ibadan-Kano axis, stressing that the Buhari administration planned to start and complete the project before the end of its tenure.

He said, “We are grateful that the Chinese government through the China Exim Bank was able to give us the loan at a concessionary rate to construct from the seaport down to Ibadan. We hope that we get money to be able to construct from Ibadan to Kano so that we can complete the track and make sure that business takes place.”

The minister expressed satisfaction with the cooperation enjoyed from Lagos, Ogun and Oyo state governments, stressing that in Ogun alone, over 1,000 houses were demolished in the course of the rail line construction.

Ibrahim Alhassan Musa, the Chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, in his remarks, recalled that the infrastructure development project had faced many challenges in the course of its execution and delivery.

He noted that without the full support and steadfast with encouragement of  President Buhari, the project would not have been completed.

He also expressed thanks to the Nigerian Ports Authority, NNPC, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, LAMATA, Lagos Water Corporation, Oil Serve, whose cooperation facilitated the timely completion of the project.

The highpoint of the event was that the President Buhari took a train ride from Ebute Metta station to Energy Nature Light (ENL), Terminal, Apapa Port, Lagos.

He was joined by the Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Governors of Ekiti, Oyo, Ogun and the deputy governor of Ondo, the Minister of Transportation, the Minister of State Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, other ministers as well as some government officials.

 

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