FG needs $656m to complete Lagos-Ibadan rail line – Amaechi – Newstrends
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FG needs $656m to complete Lagos-Ibadan rail line – Amaechi

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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.

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State trains: Plateau, Niger, Osun, Borno set to join Lagos, FCT 

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State trains: Plateau, Niger, Osun, Borno set to join Lagos, FCT 

Plateau, Niger, Borno and Osun states are among state governments currently making arrangements to run train services within their respective areas.

They are joining Lagos State Government and the Federal Capital Territory already operating and managing mass transit train services for the people in those places.

This is coming after the railway development and operation was moved from the exclusive legislative list to concurrent allowing states and private sector to be involved in the business.

Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria, disclosed this in Lagos on Tuesday during a public lecture.

Okhiria spoke as a guest lecturer at the endowed professorial chair on Transport and Logistics at the Lagos State University (LASU) on ‘From exclusive clause to concurrent list: Potency for sustainable rail infrastructure development in Nigeria and the Lagos State Example’.

He commended the Lagos State Government and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, two subnational governments for effectively initiating and running mass transit trains.

He said it was part of the fallout of moving the railway development from the exclusive list to current as signed into law in March 23, 2023 by the ex-President Muhammadu Buhari.

Already, he said the Plateau State Government had commenced a trial run of its stage-managed train service.

Okhiria said, “Lagos State is one of the states already operating a mass transit train in Nigeria. The Lagos Blue Line is a standard gauge track operating between Mile 2 and Marina…The service has greatly reduced the traffic jam usually experienced at Marina to Orile and Mike 2 axis, especially usually during peak hours.

“Lagos State is presently at an advanced stage of commenting the Red Line from Agbado to Oyingbo. We are currently inspecting and certifying various operating equipment along the corridor for safety concerns. When the service commences, it will greatly impact the way Lagosians travel.

“Other states are already keying in before now, using our track access tool to negotiate a train service within their corridor.

“Notable among them included Plateau State Government, already operating on trial runs, Niger State (talks ongoing), Borno State (talks ongoing), Osun State Government (hire service during festivities) and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) currently restated, to mention a few.”

The NRC boss recalled that the prior to the constitutional amendments, was both a sole operator and regulator of rail activities in the country.

He cautioned states against dropping standards due to the high cost involved in building railway infrastructure, which he noted could affect safety.

Okhiria said the NRC would continue to offer necessary technical advice and other input to ensure adherence to uniform global standards in railway development and management.

He urged private investors to key into the project in the area of running trains, both passengers and freight.

Vice-Chancellor of LASU, Prof. Ibiyemi Tunji-Bello, represented by the VC Administration, Prof. Adenine Omotunde Boyo, said that the removal of railway from exclusive to concurrent list would empower the states to invest massively railway business and boost the intermodal transport system.

She commended the initiative of the Lagos State Government for completing and commencing daily commercial train service from Mile 2 to Marina.

Speaking on the professorial chair endowment in the transport studies at LASU, Prof. Dele Badejo said it was the first of its kind in transport development and sustainable development in sub-Sahara Africa.

He said, “This guest lecture is historic because it is the first time that the endowment has gathered and assembled stakeholders and intellectuals in the rail transport sub-sector to brainstorm and provide a road map for the repositioning and improving various activities and infrastructure on rail transportation.”

 

 

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We’re ready to move livestock from North to South – NRC MD

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We’re ready to move livestock from North to South – NRC MD

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) says it will soon resume transportation of livestock from north to south.

The service was suspended in 2017 due to technical glitches.

Fidet Okhiria, managing director of the NRC, disclosed the planned resumption of the service on Wednesday when he appeared on ‘Morning Brief,’ a Channels TV programme.

Okhiria said the transportation of livestock and goods would recommence via the Warri-Itakpe route.

On Tuesday, President Bola Tinubu hinted at the possibility of creating a ministry of livestock development.

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Okhiria said the NRC would modernise the movement of goods in the country “so that when they come by road from the north, they can move them by rail to south-south Warri”.

The MD added that the NRC has “brought in some wagons that can mobilise livestock and they are being assembled in the Kajola area of Oyo in the south-west”.

He said railway investments should prioritise people’s wellbeing over profit for indirect economic benefits.

“We’ve built 15 wagons for livestock and maybe in the next month or two, they would be deployed from Itakpe to Warri to drive the economy,” he said.

“You are not developing transportation because you want to make a profit in terms of naira and kobo, but the profit will come indirectly if we can move goods and link cities.”

We’re ready to move livestock from North to South – NRC MD

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Warri-Itakpe train service resumes today, says FG

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Warri-Itakpe train service resumes today, says FG

The Federal Government has assured passengers of the Warri-Itakpe train service of their safety as operations resume on the route on Monday.

This assurance follows a train accident on Thursday at the Major Gen. David Ejor rail station.

On Sunday, the Minister of Transportation, Senator Ahmed Alkali, gave this assurance during an inspection at the Agbor-Abraka rail station.

Represented by the acting Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Pius Oteh, the minister noted that their primary observation was to ensure that the track has been repaired.

He said, “Our first observation is to see that normalcy has been restored. We are here in the directive of Minister who is concerned when the accident happened on Thursday night.

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“The NRC is the operator of all our rail services and we are aware that they have already begin to take preliminary steps to ascertain what happened and ensure everybody was safe and conduct further investigation. “As supervisory ministry of NRC also find the need to have a first assessment of the situation.

“You know that Warri-Itakpe railway is a critical component of our National railway infrastructure. We are happy to be here and express Minister concerned.

“We are happy that the incident did not led to any casualty, it an operational issue and we are happy to see that NRC has used their internal resource to fix the track.

“By tomorrow Monday, the train will resume its operation. We thanked God that the accident did not claimed any life.”

While commending the Nigeria Railway Corperation for efficient and effective service over the years, the minister disclosed that to run two sessions daily is on course.

On the issue of kidnapping around railway, the Minister said that security agencies are working very well to address the trend.

He assured safety of the public and encouraging them to continue using the train, noting that efforts are ongoing to entend the railway line to Abuja.

Warri-Itakpe train service resumes today, says FG

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