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FG to begin new Kano-Kaduna rail construction in July

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  • New line to link Abuja-Kaduna railway

The Federal Government will commence the construction of Kano-Kaduna rail line in July, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said.

According to him, the new standard gauge rail will be linked with the already running Abuja-Kaduna rail line and eventually connect a new line coming from Lagos-Ibadan being constructed by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

The minister said this when he led a delegation of Nigerian Shippers’ Council and Nigeriam Railway Corporation on a courtesy visit to the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, in Kano.

Amaechi said the rail line and the Inland Dry Port would boost business activities of the state and encourage import and export activities.

He said, “We are here because we want to see how far you have gone with the Dala Inland Dry Port because between now and July, we would start work on the Kano-Kaduna part of the rail.

“We will link the Kano rail to Kaduna and link Ibadan to Abuja, then we would address the problem of cargoes.

“We have to learn how to manage cargoes that come to Kano, like you know, we are also linking Kano-Maradi, so Kano will be the hub for the railway sector with a major station in Kano, it will be able to control the volume of human traffic in Kano.”

He also said, “Kano is important to Nigeria; Kano is also important to the railway sector and we are trying to see how to bring Maritime into Kano. It is important to note that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council North-West Zonal Office is located at Kano because of the economic importance.

“We believe that the government has the capacity to protect those projects and respond to the needs of the users.”

Kano State Governor, Ganduje, said said the dry port and the rail line would boost the economy of the state, adding that the volume of import and export in the state was high because of the population of the state.

Ganduje said, “With the international airport in Kano and the businesses happening with other neighbouring countries, the dry port and the rail line will boost the economy of the state.”

Railway

We’re seeking alternative funding for railway modernisation — Amaechi

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The Federal Government is in search of alternative funding mechanism to modernise the rail system, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said.

He said this on Friday during the 2021 Annual Public Lecture titled ‘Nigeria’s National Rail Transport Project’ and organised by Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Science, University of Lagos, Akoka.

He said the Federal Government had recovered most of the failed locations on the narrow gauge corridor and taking precautions using the Environment Impact Assessment report on the standard gauge corridor.

He said all the new railway projects were embedded with rich technology transfer clauses.

The minister said that establishment of rail projects was to reduce cost of transportation and boost the nation’s economy.

He said all the regions in the country would have been connected with rail but for lack of sustainable funding plan, environmental issues, degenerated infrastructure, theft of railway materials and obsolete legal framework.

According to him, the railway project is affected by decline of requisite railway professionals, indiscriminate disposal of refuse on the railway right of way by citizens, among others.

Amaechi appealed to community leaders and civil society organisations to join in the fight against vandalisation of railway infrastructure across the country.

Vice Chancellor of the UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, in his welcome address, said efficient transportation would provide access to business and competitiveness in the region.

Ogundipe, represented by Prof. Oluwole Familoni, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), said, “When transport systems are efficient, they provide economic and social opportunities and benefits that result in positive multiplier effects such as better accessibility to market, employment, and additional investment.

“Availability of railway also plays an important role in reducing regional disparities and improving the competitiveness of region, by facilitating, trade movement of labour, and economies of scale.

“In vast country like ours, where the population are not only scattered all over the country but are also separated by desert, forest, valley and mountains efficient, reliable and cheep means of transportation like modern railway network are essential.”

The Dean, Faculty of Social Science, Prof. Olufunmilayo Bammeke, said that the ongoing modernisation of railway system would not only revitalise the mode of transportation but also invariably impact economic development in Nigeria.

“Although skepticism was high as President Buhari opened Nigeria’s first standard gauge railway modernisation project in 2016, now it has become clear that the government is committed not just to the revitalisation of the rail but to maintaining high international standards.

“From Abuja to Kaduna, Lagos to Ibadan and Warri to Itakpe, it has been stories of excitement, success and of course, challenges.

“There are more to come from what we have heard from the media, Kaduna to Kano, Ibadan to Kano, Lagos to Calabar.”

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Rail: Lagos announces three-month traffic diversion at Yaba for red line

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The Lagos State Government says it would on October 1 commence a three-month diversion of traffic from Yaba for the first phase of the construction of its red line (railway project).

The state Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, said the diversion would start at midnight of Friday, 1 October 2021 and end on January 1, 2022.

He said, “Motorists heading to Murtala Muhammed way from Western Avenue are advised to use Empire Road at Jibowu, while Traffic circulating Murtala Muhammed Way and Yaba Bound will be diverted to Empire Road to access Western Avenue.

“In the same vein, motorists on Herbert Macaulay can also use Empire Road to connect Western Avenue to reach their desired destinations.

“We assured that the site will be cordoned off for the safety of the citizenry, while emergency vehicles will be on ground to tow broken down vehicles along the axis.”

According to the commissioner, the three-month long project was to ensure that the project is completed in record time as promised by the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration.

He stated that visible signs would be placed on the access roads with officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority around to ensure traffic flow and minimise inconveniences.

He stressed the state government’s continuous commitment to the development of transport infrastructure within the metropolis.

Oladeinde maintained that the development was vital for the multi-modal transportation system of the state government for improved economy of the citizens.

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Train passengers rise by over 400% in one year, says NBS report

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Nigeria has recorded an increase of over 400 per cent in train passengers within a space of one year, a new report by the National Bureau of Statistics has shown.

It also indicated that the Nigerian Railway Corporation generated N2.1 billion as revenue from passengers and cargo traffic in the first half of this year.

Apart from the biting economic lockdown imposed last year to curtail the spread of COVID-19, which adversely affected train service, the commencement of the new Lagos-Ibadan train service apart its inauguration in June this year and the reinvigorated Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line must are seen to have contributed to the NRC’s performance.

The report, titled, ‘Rail Transportation Data Q2’ stated that 565,385 passengers travelled by the rail system in the second quarter of 2021 against 108,238 passengers recorded in the second quarter of 2020 and 424,460 in Q1 2021.

This represents a 422.35 per cent growth year-on-year and 33.20 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

The report also specifically stated that the NRC generated N1.08 billion from passengers in the second quarter of 2021 against N892.47 million in Q1 2021.

Goods or cargo traffic in Q2 2021 fetched N71.56 million against N26.19 million in Q1 2021, while income from other receipts stood at N41 million in the last six months.

A further analysis of the report shows that the corporation recorded its highest revenue from passengers in Q2 2021 with N1.08 billion, while the lowest revenue generation from passengers was recorded in the second quarter of 2020 (Q2 2020), with N320.34 million.

The report showed from all categories that the year 2020 (particularly Q2 2020) suffered the most losses and turnout of passengers due to the COVID-19 lockdown imposed by the Federal Government to curtail the spread of the virus across Nigeria.

In June, the NBS had said the NRC generated N5.79 billion as revenue from passengers and cargo between 2019 and the first quarter of 2021 (Q1 2021).

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