When contacted, the spokesperson for the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mahmood Yakubu, said he could not comment on the development.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said the Federal Government will require $656m to complete the Lagos-Ibadan railway standard gauge project.
Amaechi stated this while defending his ministry’s 2021 budget before the National Assembly Joint Committee on Land and Marine Transport.
The minister said the amount was needed to put in place additional infrastructure for the project to serve its intended purpose.
He also said that the Ibadan-Kano railway project required an injection of $645.3m as advance payment to enable the Federal Government to complete its loan signing agreement with the China Exim Bank.
Amaechi said, “Under the railway modern programme, I am happy to report that the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge line has reached 92 per cent project completion.
“However, for the project to achieve full loan drawdown from our co-financier, China EXIM Bank, and attain practical completion for it to be used for the intended purpose, some aspects of work involving construction of upgraded railway stations, signalling and telecommunication system, power supply scheme and construction of pedestrian and overpass bridges have to be completed.
“This additional and extra work amounting to $656m which is to be financed 100 per cent by the Federal Government of Nigeria has been approved by the Federal Executive Council for implementation.
“Similarly, for the implementation of the Ibadan-Kano railway, which is the outstanding segment of the Lagos-Kano railway project, one of the conditions precedent to signing of the loan agreement is the release of advance payment in the sum of $864m, out of which government has released the sum of $218.7m, leaving a balance of $644.3m.”
According to him, the government planned to complete the fencing of the Abuja-Kaduna railway line for security purposes.
Amaechi stated that the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri railway project, which was recently commissioned by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), still had an outstanding amount to be paid on the project.
He added that the ministry would commence the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri (Eastern Narrow Gauge railways) next year.
The minister also said the construction of the central railway from Itakpe to Abuja and a 378km single track standard gauge rail line traversing Kano, Katsina and Jibiya with a 20km extension to Maradi in Niger Republic had been slated for next year.
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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