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NRC official, Chinese, policemen arrested over stolen rail sleepers

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A senior railway worker, a Chinese national, his lawyer and three security personnel have been arrested for their alleged involvement in cutting and stealing rail track materials in Nasarawa State.

Special Adviser to the Nasarawa State Governor on Infrastructure, Yusuf Musa; a former Supervisory Councillor on the Education of Nasarawa Eggon Local Government Area, Mohammed Isiaka, and Samuel Shagbaor, a principal technical officer of the railway corporation covering the Agyaragu area of the state were also arrested.

The state Commissioner of Police, Bola Longe, disclosed this when he paraded the suspects alongside other suspected criminals at the police headquarters in Lafia, the state capital on Thursday.

According to him, the arrested security personnel are from the Nigeria Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps along with a member of the Nigerian Legion, Samuel Asoloko.

The arrested lawyer, Nathaniel Bob, was said to have been arrested for attempting to bribe the police with 600,000 to secure the release of his Chinese client.

The police boss said, “Nathaniel Oba, Male, 48 years – Principal Partner Nathoba & Co a law chamber in Benin and the legal adviser to Yong Xing Steel Company Nigeria Limited offered N600,000 cash to bribe the investigating team of the anti-kidnapping unit to secure the release of his client.”

He added that the politicians and two other persons Yusuf Ahmed and Abubakar Nuhu who are the owners of trailers used to transport the stolen railway slippers, also tried to bribe the police with N160,000 for the release of their vehicles.

Longe stated that the feat was achieved after the command developed an anti-vandalism template to checkmate activities of vandals across the state.

“Based on the information at the disposal of the Nasarawa State Police Command from multiple sources, which all indicated that criminal elements have turned the Nigerian railway tracks that traverse some major cities and villages in Nasarawa State en route to Benue State to goldmine where they vandalise and cart away rail tracks/slippers.

“Consequently, the state police command developed a strategic anti-vandalism template to arrest the tide of this unwholesome scenario.

“It is gratifying to note, however, that, this template paid off on 16/5/2021 at about 0130hrs and 24/5/2021 at about 0300hrs respectively when police operatives swooped on the vandals at their theatre of operation while vandalising and carting away railway tracks/slippers along Agyaragu Tofa in Lafia LGA and Angwan Alago of Kadarko district in Keana LGA.”

The police boss added that the Chinese national, Marra Thai, managing a steel company in Tungan Maje of Abuja in disguise was the criminal receiver through his procurement officer Jacob Terlumun.

“Preliminary investigation into these cases so far has revealed that it is a grand conspiracy involving high net worth individuals who act as sponsors and drivers of various syndicates which specialise in vandalising Nigerian railway track/slippers in different parts of Nasarawa State notably: Gudi-Lafia-Akeleku-Makurdi railway line.

“This is a classic case of sabotage being perpetrated by unpatriotic Nigerians including some personnel of security agencies who are employed by the state to protect lives and property.

“This criminal circus is sustained and kept alive by companies who process steel/iron scraps and mostly owned by foreign nationals who make wrongful gains at the expense of the national interest.”

Exhibits recovered are one Falker Mercedes Benz truck loaded with vandalised rail track/sleepers; one DAF trailer loaded with vandalised rail track/slippers, the sum of N160,000 offered as bribe to secure the release of the vehicle; two white Peugeot J5 buses – one of which was loaded with vandalised rail track materials.

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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