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Buhari reappoints Okhiria as MD of Nigerian railway

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Fidet Okhiria

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reappointment of Fidet Edentalen Okhiria as managing director of the Nigeria Railway Coporation (NRC).

He was first appointed managing director of the corporation in October 2016 and has since then been piloting the affairs of the firm.

As NRC MD, Okhiria is overseeing the transformation of the railway. He initiated the engineering designs; moved new locomotives delivered at Apapa port to Zaria, Enugu and Abuja to keep the plan on course.

Under the current administration and supervision of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, the government has constructed new railways, replaced antiquated tracks and acquired new and up-to-date coaches and locomotives.

Okhiria, an engineer, from Iruekpen Ekpoma in Edo State, started his journey with the NRC as a pupil engineer and rose to the position of Director Mechanical/Electrical/Signal and Telecommunication.

He attended Ujeolen Primary School from 1967 to 1972 and Ujeolen Grammar School 1973 to 1977 both in Ekpoma, Edo state.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree (BSc Electrical Engineering) from University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos.

He did his National Youth Service (NYSC) programme at the then National Electrical Power Authority (NEPA) from 1985 to 1986.

From 1992 to 1996, he was District Mechanical/Electrical Engineer, and later Chief Mechanical Electrical Engineer from 1996 to 1999.

Okhiria became Assistant Director (C/W) between 1999 and 2001; Manager, Romania project from 2001 to 2003 and District Manager (LD) from 2003 to June 2006.

He became the Director, Mechanical/Electrical from June 200 to June 2011.

Okhiria is a fellow of Nigerian Institute of Mechanical Engineering, (NIME), chartered member, Institute of Logistics and Transport (MILT), member, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), member Institute of Directors (IOD), member Institute of Strategic Management (ISM) and member, Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM).

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Abuja-Kaduna train resumes to services Tuesday, says NRC

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The suspended Abuja-Kaduna fast train will resume operations tomorrow, Tuesday January 31, 2023, the Nigerian Railway Corporation has said.

The train service was suspended by the NRC last week after a derailment recorded at the Kubwa Station on Friday January 27.

A statement announcing the recommencement of the train signed by the NRC Director of Operations, Niyi Alli, obtained on Monday, read, “The board and management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation is pleased to announce the recommencement of the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service which was suspended on Friday 27th January 2023 due to the derailment that occured at Kubwa Station on the same date.
“The service will resume on Tuesday 31st January 2023 with the following daily schedule; KA2 departs Rigasa at 0700; Ak1 departs Idu at 10.00; KA4 departs RIGASA at 13.00hrs; AK3 departs idu at 16.00.

“However on Wednesdays only KA2 will depart Rigasa at 0700 and and AK 4 will depart Idu at 16.00.
“The corporation once again regrets any inconvenience our esteemed passengers may have experienced as a result of the temporary suspension of the service.”

 

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After presidential ride, 750-volt dedicated power to delay Lagos rail operations

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The new Lagos electric-powered metro rail, the Blue Line, inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, cannot commence immediate commercial operations, the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said.

The line, he said, would only become operational after the completion of a 750 Volt-ampere dedicated power supply source.

The train made a round trip between the Marina station and National Theatre, with residents watching in excitement.

 

The inaugural ride on the train was performed by the President in company with Governor Sanwo-Olu, his Deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, and other invited dignitaries.

The completed tracks, spanning 13 kilometres in the first phase, extend from Mile 2 to Marina, covering five stations.

Lagos Metropolitan Transport Authority (LAMATA) constructed the rail infrastructure, which will transport 250,000 passengers daily.

The governor said the iconic Marina station commissioned by the President was designed as Africa’s metro hub with a capacity to process 28,000 passengers per hour.

He said the development of the state rail infrastructure project was to increase mobility for commuters and raise productivity to energise the state economy.

A statement by Sanwo-Olu’s Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, stated that at the event, President Buhari supervised the signing of contract by Governor Sanwo-Olu for the commencement of the project’s second phase, which will cover 14-kilometre stretch from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko.

Sanwo-Olu said the delivery of the Blue Line Rail was the culmination of the “timeless vision” of the Lagos State Government initiated by his predecessor and All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whom the governor described as “the architect of modern Lagos”.

Tinubu, the governor said, developed a comprehensive road map for the state’s economic prosperity through continuous implementation of the State’s Strategic Transportation Master Plan (STMP), which envisioned six metro lines.

Sanwo-Olu said the construction of the Blue Line could have been completed years before the APC took power at the centre in 2015, but noted the project was slowed down by hostile policies of the then Federal Government led by an opposition party.

He said: “Since 1999, Lagos has not enjoyed the kind of support it is receiving from the President Buhari administration since 2015.

“The socio-economic impact of various projects we have commissioned during the President’s two-day visit bears testimony to the support and collaboration we have enjoyed from the APC-led Federal Government. Mr. President, we are proud in Lagos to be associated with your national vision for infrastructural transformation.

“The Blue Line we are commissioning today is a product of timeless vision by Lagos State, which dates back to the administration of former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu 20 years ago. One of his greatest legacies was the development of road map for the future of Lagos, which cleared the pathway for a modern, prosperous and competitive mega city. With the rail line, a journey of two hours will now take 15 minutes. This will improve quality of life for our citizens, while Lagos will grow to be one of the most resilient mega cities.”

Sanwo-Olu said the Blue Line would be operational after the completion of 750 Volt-ampere dedicated power supply source.

The governor said the iconic Marina station commissioned by the President was designed as Africa’s metro hub with a capacity to process 28,000 passengers per hour.

The governor said the development of the state rail infrastructure project was to increase mobility for commuters and raise productivity to energise the state economy.

He said the ongoing construction of the Red Line, which extends 37-kilometre from Agbado to Ebute Metta, would be completed before the end of May.

Sanwo-Olu acknowledged the courage of his predecessor, former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, who started the Blue Line project despite opposition from the then central government.

He said: “This rail infrastructure is for the benefit of our teeming citizens who daily endure the pain of traffic gridlock from their homes to workplaces. This is about bringing relief to your mobility challenges and ensuring Lagos works for you.

“We believe this will make your journey easier and better your lives. The Greater Lagos that we promised you is rising. You can see and feel it. This is a demonstration of purposeful government.”

Dr. Hamzat described the Blue Line as “the most audacious project” to be funded by a sub national in the history of the country, noting that the Sanwo-Olu administration took the steps to complete the project given its importance to solving transportation challenges in the state.

“The excitement about this rail project is justifiable, considering the fact that it will certainly help to reduce the pressure on our roads, enhance the economic wellbeing of Lagosians and put our dear State on the same pedestal as others of its stature. People come first in all that we do, because they are the bedrock of our government,” the Deputy Governor said.

 

 

 

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Updated: Passengers panic as Warri-Itakpe train derails in Kogi forest + video

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  • NRC suspends train service along the route

Fear of attack and kidnap by terrorists overtook many train passengers on Sunday as their train plying the Warri-Itakpe route derailed, making many to scamper for safety.

A total of 148 passengers and 30 crew members were on the train when the incident happened in a Kogi forest around 2.30 on Sunday, according to the Nigerian Railway Corporation.

Punch reported that many of the passengers immediately abandoned the train for fear of being taken hostage.

It was gathered that the train left Warri early on Sunday and got derailed at around 12pm inside the thick forest between Ajaokuta and Itakpe, the report stated.

There were conflicting reports as to the cause of the train accident in which no one was reported injured.

Some claimed a section of the track was cut forcing the train to veer off the rail line.

But a source familiar with train operations at the Nigerian Railway Corporation told NewsTrends that the derailment was suspected to be caused by a point error “since the train derailed at a facing point where it wanted to negotiate its move to another line”.

Tweets by some of the passengers later showed that the security operatives aboard the train, the police and the Nigerian Army promptly came to the rescue of the stranded passengers.

They however did not provide the details of how they got out of the forest.

For instance, Sule  Sulaiman, @sos0570

tweeted, “Kudos to the security men on board, PF Kogi Command and NA for the prompt response. All passengers are safe.”

Meanwhile, the NRC has reacted to the incident through a statement issued Sunday night by The Coordinator of Warri-Itakpe Train Service, Sanni Abdulganiyu.

The statement read, “The Warri Itakpe Train Service WITS 01 derailed at KM 30 Ajaokuta-Itakpe section of the track at About 12:30hrs of Sunday 22nd January 2023.

“Thankfully, there was no fatality and no casualty. We were immediately alerted and security personnel comprising the Army, Police, NSCDC, and the community vigilante were immediately drafted to the accident point with the assistance of the local government chairman.

“All the 148 passengers and 30 crew members were evacuated to a safe place and arrangements were made to convey 148 passengers to their various destinations and they have been successfully conveyed.

“The cause of the derailment is not yet determined. Due to this incident, the service along the corridor has been suspended. Further details would be communicated to members of the public.

“Repair and operation will resume as soon as possible.”

 

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