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CCECC to complete Lagos-Ibadan rail signals, communication system March 2022

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Three months after the inauguration of the standard gauge Lagos-Ibadan rail by President Muhammadu Buhari, the signal and communication system has not been operational.

The Project Liaison Officer of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Mr Yakubu Adogie, who stated this, however, promised that the company was already working to complete the system before the first quarter of 2022.

He spoke in Lagos when members of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Transportation visited the Ebute Meta headquarters of the Nigerian Railway Corporation and inspected the new rail line including the Bola Tinubu Railway Station, Apapa.

Concerns have been raised about system along new railway corridor over delay in the completion of the signalling system.

The signalling system helps to maintain a safe distance between trains on the same track, safeguard train movement at junctions and regulate their passage according to the service density and speed required.

A statement by the NRC on Monday reported the CCECC liaison officer as saying that the company was also working on the plumbing, power supply and telecommunications of other stations within the new Lagos-Ibadan railway corridor.

Adogie lamented that despite intervention of the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, in July and payment of compensation, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) log room building had not been demolished to give way for the construction of the other two lines to connect Apapa port.

The Projects Manager of TEAM Construction Company Nig. Ltd, Leonardo Portanova, spoke on the overhead bridges and crossings in the Lagos end of the rail line.

According to him, the Lagos State Government is constructing seven overhead bridges while TEAM would build six overhead crossings.

The Chairman, Joint Senate/House Committee on Transportation, Abdulfatai Buhari, said the legislators would support the NRC with necessary legislative framework to ensure effective rail transport and boost inter-regional business in the country.

He promised the committee’s commitment for excellent delivery on the NRC’s mandate in line with international best practices.

“You are all aware that the joint committee is carrying out its statutory constitutional responsibilities to ascertain the level of work done.

He said, “We are here to oversee how funds appropriated in the past fiscal years were expended and how much needed for the smooth running of the corporation against the next budgetary allocation.

“We had the benefit of listening to your presentation and recommendations at the last budget defence as regards the performance on 2020 budget and 2021 budget appropriations.”

Buhari said that the committee’s visit was not to witch-hunt the corporation but to collaborate and ensure the rail revitalisation agenda as well as infrastructural development programme of the current administration.

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Transportation, Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, asked the contractors to open a good channel of communication with them to enable that the committee defend them on their requirements to make the land transport viable for business.

He also urged the NRC management to always make their reports available quarterly to improve the synergy with the National Assembly.

He said the committee also sought the need for housing scheme for workers to improve staff welfare and enhance efficiency.

Earlier in his presentation, the NRC Managing Director, Mr Fidet Okhiria, gave current personnel strength of the corporation as 10,672 with current personnel cost of N9.137 billion for 2021.

He also said that a total of 1,000 additional workers would be required for the operation of the new Lagos-Ibadan rail line, with additional wage bill of N567, 451,300 per annum.

He pleaded with the committee to support the NRC to achieve its goal of expanding the operations nationwide for effective transportation of people and freight.

Okhiria added, “On corporation’s revenue generation since 2020, NRC has remitted N1. 126bn to Federal Government approved dedication TSA Account domiciled with the CBN.”

 

Railway

FG won’t resume Abuja-Kaduna train service until all abducted passengers are freed – Minister

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Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, has said the Abuja-Kaduna train service will remain shut indefinitely until the kidnapped victims are reunited with their families and additional security measures provided.

He also said the proposed surveillance security equipment on rail tracks would be procured soon.
The minister spoke after he inspected the Idu, Abuja Train Station, on Tuesday.
“It is very important to get those Nigerians that have been kidnapped reunited with their families, otherwise it will appear the government is not sensitive whereas the government is not only sensitive but the government is doing everything it can to make sure that those who have been affected by this abduction are reunited with their families.”
“You must put in place adequate security and infrastructural measures to protect and prevent all forms of threats that are possible and leave what you cannot do to God but everything humanly possible must be put in place to ensure that the reoccurrence of this nature is automatically eliminated forever. Technology can make that possible and we are trying to deploy the best technology available anywhere in the world that has served very well in other jurisdictions which we believe can also serve us very well in Nigeria.”
A memo to procure a N3 billion rail track sensors by the immediate past Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, was rejected at the Federal Executive Council.
However, the current minister said the procurement would still happen.
“We are in the process of procuring the sensors and that is why I said we must ensure that we put in place every infrastructure that will ensure that lives are safeguarded. So, the technology that is going to be deployed is such that you can perceive a threat and eliminate it before you get to the location; that is being proactive.
“The best way to travel as far as I am concerned is by train and by the grace of God, we will make sure these services resume but not until those things I mentioned have been achieved. Rescue or reunion of those that have been kidnapped with their families and putting in place technology that will ensure that threats to lives are eliminated,” he said.
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Terrorists release professor, four other abducted train passengers

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Five of the passenger abducted by terrorists from a Kaduna-bound train on March 28, 2022, have been released.

Among the freed passengers are Prof. Mustapha Umar Imam, a medical doctor at the Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital (UDUS), Sokoto.

Daily Trust in its report said Imam was shot in captivity, raising concerns about his safety.

Other passengers also released are Akibu Lawal, Abubakar Ahmed Rufai, Muktar Shuaibu and Sidi Aminu Sharif.

Kaduna-based Publisher, Tukur Mamu, who  engaged in negotiating the release of the victims but backed out due to threats to his life, confirmed their release to Daily Trust on Tuesday.

It is unclear if any ransom was paid for the victims, whose release occurred three weeks after seven train passengers were set free after an N800 million ransom.

It was reliably gathered that families of each of the six Nigerian victims paid N100 million while the captors pegged the ransom for the Pakistani at N200 million which was also paid.

The report quoted a source as saying, “Only N200 million was collected in naira, the remaining N600 million was paid in the equivalent of US dollars.”

“All the families of the victims felt abandoned by the federal government and therefore had to pay for the release of their loved ones,” a source close to one of the released victim said.

“The truth is that the FG is indifferent to our plight…Those in power don’t care if the captives are all killed. That is why we sold our property and raised the money. It is the same for the families of all those released. We all paid through our nose but Alhamdulillah, it is worth it.”

The abductors had earlier released three batches of the captives, including managing director of the Bank of Agriculture, Alwan Hassan, a group of eleven victims and a pregnant woman released alone.

A security source told one of our correspondents that the federal government rarely secures the release of any captive.

“Government is not amenable to releasing terrorists in their custody because of some international convention.

“It is however sad that in Nigeria, while we don’t agree to prisoner swap most of the time, the terrorists always have their way as evident in the recent attack on Kuje Prison where many high profile terrorists were released.

“We don’t have the capacity to protect our prison facilities and we don’t have the capacity to protect the citizens. Hundreds of terrorists have been set free in various prisons…It is unfortunate,” he said.

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Abductors of train passengers release three more captives

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Terrorists who about three  months ago attacked an Abuja-Kaduna train and kidnapped over 60 passengers on Monday released three more captives.

Some 20 victims had earlier been released at different times after their families were reportedly made to pay ransom.

A relative of one of the latest released victims told the BBC that those freed included two men and a woman.

This is coming about 24 hours after a video was released showing how the remaining kidnapped train passengers were being flogged and dehumanised.

While disclosing the news to the BBC, the relative said the released victims were on the way to a health facility for medical examination

The BBC report said there was no detailed explanation on the condition met before the additional three victims were released.

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