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Nigerian railway projects will create employment opportunities, says Amaechi

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President Muhammadu Buhari is focusing on railway investment through construction of new lines and revival of old ones in order to create employment, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said.

The minister, in a statement by his media aide, Mrs Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni, said all the ongoing projects would contribute immensely to the country’s gross domestic product.

Indeed, he said the construction of the eastern rail line recently flagged off would generate between 20,000 and 50,000 jobs apart from new businesses that would spring up along the rail corridor.

“Let us look at the economic benefits; in the course of doing the visibility of this project, I discovered that there are so many natural resources along that track, such as iron ore all over the North-East. There is coal between Benue and Enugu.

“What the train does is that it provides logistics for the movement of natural resources for value addition.”

He was also quoted as saying, “I expect it to employ between 20,000 and 50,000 workers. At the conclusion of construction, imagine how many workers will be employed at the industrial park at the seaport.

“The essence of the President’s investment in the project is to create employment. He hopes that we are able to grow the economy of Nigeria through transportation, create employment in the course of the infrastructure.

“And at the end of the construction, we expect those who do business in Nigeria to be able to acquire land and site industries along the rail corridor.”

Amaechi said that the most significant rail projects were the Lagos-Kano line moving 30 million tonnes of cargo per year and the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri expected to move about 11 million tonnes of cargo when completed.

He said that the ministry was working on getting funding for Lagos-Calabar.

Railway

Police still on trail of Warri-Itakpe rail track vandals – NRC

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• Says vandals risk life imprisonment
Vandals of a section of the newly inaugurated Warri-Itakpe rail track have not been arrested, contrary to an earlier report, the Nigerian Railway Corporation has said.
Coordinator of the new rail line operation, Abdulganniyu Saani, an engineer, who stated this, also dismissed the viral video of the arrest of five suspects with a vehicle load of rail track sleepers, saying it was an old clip of an incident around Jos, Plateau State taken some years back.
He also said the latest cutting of Warri-Itakpe track material was not on the main lane but an extra lane, which had not disrupted the running of freight and passenger trains.
Saani spoke in an interview with NewsTrends on the telephone, warning that vandals would be treated as manslaughter suspects with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment upon conviction because their activities could lead to fatal railway accidents.
He also said that a number of traps had been laid for the arrest of the vandals still on the run and other hoodlums that might be contemplating of vandalizing or stealing railway materials.
“The police in Kogi State where the incident had happened are on the red alert. They are working with other security agencies to apprehend the vandals and anybody who dares tamper with railway materials.
Details later…

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Railway

Five arrested for destroying, stealing new Warri-Itakpe rail track

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Seven months after inauguration, vandals have destroyed the Warri-Itakpe rail track, cutting the rail sleepers and carting the materials away.
Already, the police have arrested five men in Delta State in connection with the vandalisation and stealing of the rail track materials.
The suspected vandals were said to have cut several sections of the track around Kilometre 30, Adogo (Kogi State) section of the rail line.
Officials of the Nigerian Railway Corporation reportedly discovered the vandalisation two days ago.
The rail line was inaugurated by the President Muhammadu Buhari in September 2020 after about three decades of starting the project.
It is a standard gauge railway connecting the port city of Warri to the inland town of Itakpe initially meant to supply the Ajaokuta Steel Mill with iron ore and coal. But after a protracted construction period of more than 30 years, the 51km railway was finally inaugurated last year as a mixed freight and passenger line.
The project was completed by Julius Berger, and was extended from Ajaokuta to Warri (Aladja Steel Plant and Jetty) for the transportation of passengers along Itakpe-Warri corridor in addition to the original concept of freight movement service for the steel industry.

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Mexico rail overpass collapses, kills 23

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At least 23 people have died and 65 injured others hospitalised after a railway overpass and train collapsed onto a busy road in Mexico City on Monday night, crushing cars under fallen carriages and rubble.

Reuters reported that the authorities halted rescue efforts shortly after they began, saying there was a risk that more train parts and debris could come down onto the road.

A video on local channel Milenio TV showed the structure plummeting onto a stream of cars near the Olivos station in the southeast of the city at around 10.30pm local time, sending up clouds of dust.

At least two train carriages precariously hung from the damaged overpass. Initial rescue efforts saw medical and fire crews trying to access the carriages. The army was also in attendance.

Speaking to reporters at the site, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said it appeared a girder had given way on the overpass but the cause was being investigated.

She said the rescue had been suspended as the structure was very weak.

A crane was said to be working to stabilise the train carriages so rescuers could resume their search for survivors.

The authorities were working to identify the dead, which included children, Sheinbaum said.

One person trapped in their car underneath the wreckage had been rescued alive and was taken to hospital.

Seven of the people transported to hospital were in a “grave condition” and undergoing surgery, she said.

The Metro 12 line that runs over the collapsed overpass was built almost a decade ago when Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard was mayor of Mexico City.

“What happened today with the Metro is a terrible tragedy. My solidarity is with the victims and their families,” Ebrard said on Twitter, adding, “Of course, the causes must be investigated and responsibilities defined.”

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