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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.

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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