When contacted, the spokesperson for the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mahmood Yakubu, said he could not comment on the development.
The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) says the Lagos-Ibadan rail line has been fully connected to the Apapa port in Lagos.
The CCECC is the construction firm handling the over $1.6bn Lagos-Ibadan railway project currently on trial run and awaiting the official inauguration by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Chinese firm said in a statement on Monday that the linking of the port to the rail track was completed on Monday, January 25, 2020.
It said, “On the morning of January 25, 2021, with the successful pouring of the last 25-metre monolithic track-bed superstructure of Apapa port break bulk line, the Lagos-Ibadan railway was officially connected to the Apapa port in Lagos,” the statement said.
“The Apapa port spur line of Lagos-Ibadan railway starts from the Mobolaji Johnson Station, Ebute Metta and extends southward to Apapa port, with a total length of 8.72km.
“As a crucial channel linking the main line of the Lagos-Ibadan railway to the port, it has become an important transportation passage for the import and export of goods and now serves as a significant guarantee with regard to the comprehensive operational efficiency of the railway.”
The idea of extending the new standard gauge rail line to the Apapa port was an addendum to the project. It is meant to ease the Apapa gridlock by taking containers in and out of the port using the rail.
A terminal operator, APTM had initially had issues with the contractor, CCEECC, preventing the latter from penetrating the port on the account that the work was impeding port activities.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had to lead a high-powered government delegation to the spot and ordered the terminal operator to cooperate with the Chinese contractor to enable it to deliver the project in January for the inauguration.
He had said, “I have a meeting with Mr. President on Monday and it is at that meeting that we would fix any day in January for Mr. President to commission this project. That is not debatable and that is why we must ensure that this work is delivered before then.”
The message was echoed by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman, as she told the APTM, “Why the minister is here is to enforce the presidential directive to get the rail tracks into Apapa. It is you that must build your operation round the construction work plan to ensure that your operations are not hindered and hampered by the construction of the standard gauge.
“The construction is of top priority to the government and all operators must ensure that we cooperate to get it done.”
Insecurity: FG installs CCTV cameras on Abuja-Kaduna train coaches
The Federal Government has commenced the installation of closed-circuit television cameras on train coaches that will be run on Abuja-Kaduna rail line.
This is coming a few days after the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, announced the postponement of the train service resumption by one week.
PUNCH reported last week that some contractors were at the Idu rail station to install the cameras and trackers but couldn’t install them.
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It was reported on Tuesday that two out of the initial three cameras were fixed.
Punch correspondent, who visited the Idu rail station on Tuesday, observed that workers said to be working for FG contractors were installing the cameras on the coaches.
However, the surroundings of the stations were still filled with dry grass.
A reliable source within the Idu rail station confirmed the development, saying, “They are mounting the DMU on the other side. They are fixing three cameras on each coach, making it six.”
Amaechi left indelible mark in railways, we’ll continue, says Sambo
Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, says he will build on the legacies of his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, in the area of railway transformation, which he describes as an indelible mark.
He stated this during a tour of railway facilities from Lagos to Ibadan.
He was accompanied by the Minister of State for Transport, Adeleke Adegoroye.
He praised Amaechi’s
commitment in ensuring the actualisation of the standard gauge rail for Nigerians.
“I wish the incoming government will continue with the progress in the rail sector which we are all proud of presently.
“My gratitude goes to my predecessor for all he has done while in office , even his enemies would admit to his commitment towards achieving success in the rail sector.
“My predecessor had left an indelible mark; although we have limited time, we have vowed to continue where the former minister stopped.”
After a train ride from Lagos to Ibadan, Sambo, who interacted with some of the train passengers in Abeokuta, expressed satisfaction with the standard guage train service.
He commended the management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation for their support
“We have been receiving support from the management of railway; we hope it will be sustained to enable us to create the enabling environment for business to strive and reduce cost of doing business.”
Sambo, who interacted with some train passengers at Wole Soyinka Railway Station in Abeokuta during the Lagos-Ibadan train tour, said he was satisfied with the service and favourable persengers’ comments.
“I am highly impressed with the railway modernisation programme of this administration. What we have seen is unprecedented. And we have vowed, my colleague and I, that within the short time that we have to spend as ministers, we will build on what we have found so that the trajectory will not be truncated in any way at all.”
Speaking on the Abuja-Kaduna railway corridor, Sambo reiterated the ministry’s stance on resuming operations in November.
He however refrained from stating a specific resumption date and asked Nigerians to wait patiently.
“We have announced previously that we are going to commence operations on that line this month. We have the target date. It is not necessary for me to share that date publicly. I don’t think that would help in running the service. Nigerians are interested in the service, right? Today is November 17; less than two weeks before the month is over. So, just be patient,” the minister said.
The team also visited the control tower, where Managing Director, NRC, Mr Fidet Okhiria, explained the importance of the place in monitoring the entire gamut of train operations along the Lagos-Ibadan corridor and to cover the entire railway network later.
Okhiria earlier in his welcome address commended the FG’s commitment towards ensuring completion of all the projects within the time frame, adhering to quality and international best practices.
He said that railway was the cornerstone of economic growth of all countries through mass movement of freight and people, thereby creating direct and indirect job opportunities, urbanisation, business expansion and social integration for peaceful coexistence.
“In the recent time, the NRC has been facing some challenges which include security and vandalisation. We thank the minister and his team for their effort towards ensuring that the railway corridors are now properly secure for the safety of our esteemed passengers and other stakeholders.
” I also commend the effort of he Honourable minister by ensuring all hostages of the AKTS infamous train attack were released before the resumption of the train operations on AKTS. This shows the compassion and empathy of our minister,” Okhiria said.
Happening now (Photos): Minister of Transportation Mu’azu Sambo on tour of railway facilities + Lagos-Ibadan train ride
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