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Lagos-Ibadan rail: FG, three states set to replace level crossings with over/underpasses

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The Federal Government says it has reached an agreement with three state governments to jointly build standard railroad underpasses and underpasses at level crossings points along the new Lagos-Ibadan railway to avoid any collision with road users during train movement.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, gave the indication at Moniya Railway Station of the standard gauge railway, while speaking with journalists, adding that the new line would commence full commercial operation soon.

He also said all communities displaced or adversely affected in some other way by the $1.5bn railway project would be fixed and their normal life restored before leaving the project site.

The minister said the construction of befitting railroad underpasses/overpasses along the new line had become imperative in view of the rise in the rate of avoidable accidents being recorded at the level crossing points with the return of more train services to the route.

Amaechi, who was on a train inspection tour of the project from Lagos to Ibadan, said meetings had been held with governments of Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states and agreements reached on how to speed up the underpass/overpass construction.

“If we don’t provide these facilities, human being will continue to use the track,” Amaechi said.

According to him, everyone has been assigned their section of work to be done.

“The Federal Government will have to lead the way in the execution of our portion of work,” he said.

Although the minister did not give details about the timeline and cost of the facilities, the Nigerian Railway Corporation has said the facility would be construction in a way that there would be no contact between the fast train and road users including motorists and pedestrians.

Managing Director of the corporation specifically Fidet Okhiria, said, “The policy is that there should be no physical level crossing; it should be either overpasses or underpasses.”

Meanwhile, the minister also assured all communities adversely affected by the railway development project that the government would not abandon them to their fate.

He said every community that had been cut off from their neighbours or land area improperly tampered with would be restored, adding that a team had been mandated to compile a list of those communities with a view to ensuring that no one would excluded or be left unattended to.

Amaechi said, “We have in the course of constructing this rail line elevated the track. There are communities along this line whose life has been disrupted. For some of them, erosion has set in; they can’t cross to the other communities.

“We are being unfair to them because they gave us all the cooperation we needed. It is not good to visit them with what was not there before. It is for the engineers to take a study village by village of what impact our rail line has caused to the communities.”

Railway

Just in: Nigerian railway postpones resumption of Abuja-Kaduna train indefinitely

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The Nigerian Railway Corporation has postponed indefinitely the resumption of its suspended Abuja-Kaduna train service, following public outcry against the initial decision to return to operation next Monday May 23.
The service was suspended after terrorists on March 28 attacked a passenger train on that route, near Kaduna, killing eight people and abducting over 60 passengers, most of who are still in captivity.
The NRC had earlier in the week said the Federal Government had approved that train service should resume next Monday while efforts are being intensified to secure the release of those still held captive.

But relatives of the abducted by train passengers kicked against this, vowing to obstruct any train operation on the route without the release of their loved ones. Some option leaders also called on the government to rescind its decision to resume the train service.

A statement by the NRC Deputy Director Public Relations, Mahmoud Yakubu, on Friday evening announced a shift in the resumption date of the Abuja-Kaduna train and apologised for this.

It also said, “A new date will be announced soonest. The NRC will continue to cooperate and collaborate with the Federal Government in its uncompromising mandate of protecting the territorial integrity and the internal security of Nigeria for safeguarding the lives and properties of its citizens especially as it concerns the rail subsector.”

The corporation identified with relatives of those in captivity after the last train attack, adding that actions were being taken to secure their safe release.

It stated, “The Federal Government is alive to its

responsibility for the safe rescue of all persons being held hostage. We therefore appeal, particularly to the relatives of persons held hostage to be patient and cooperate with the corporation and the security agencies.”

 

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Just in: Abuja-Kaduna train service resumes Monday May 23, says NRC

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The Nigerian Railway Corporation says Abuja-Kaduna train service will resume next Monday, May 23, 2022 about six weeks after its operations were disrupted by terrorists.

The train service was suspended after the terrorists’ attack, leading to the death of eight passengers and abduction of over 60 people, many of them still in captivity.
The NRC in a statement on Monday evening by its spokesman, Mahmoud Yakub, said the Federal Government had directed the resumption of the Abuja-Kaduna train service.
“The passenger train service between Abuja-Kaduna is to commence on Monday 23rd May, 2022,” the statement said.

Relatives of abducted train passengers had warned the Federal Government not to resume the train operations until those held captive were safely released and reunited with their families.
The NRC added in the statement that additional security measures were being put in place at both the train stations and on the track to ensure the safety of the passengers onboard.
“These measures are not only for the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service (AKTS) but also for all the passenger train services especially on the standard gauge railway lines,” it stated.
Meanwhile, the NRC said concerted joint efforts to secure the safe release of the abducted passengers being held hostage by the terrorists would continue “out of the public domain for strategic security reasons”.
It stated that the government wishes to assure the relatives of the abducted citizens still in captivity that the safe rescue of these passengers is a top priority and not to misconstrue the resumption of train services, as abandonment or nonchalant attitude of the government towards their plight. The federal government will never abdicate its responsibility in rescuing these valuable citizens, however, the government assures of its resolve not to succumb to threats by any faceless group.

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Army sergeant, 13 others arrested with three truckloads of rail track materials

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The police have arrested 14 suspects, including a serving Army sergeant, in connection with the vandalisation and stealing of rail track materials in different parts of the country.

Three trucks loaded with railway slippers, steel and clips were recovered from the suspects, according to the Railway Police Command of the Nigeria Police Force.

The arrest involving the sergeant, Sirajo Suleiman, who works with the Nigerian Army Central Ammunition Department, Kaduna, was made on April 27, 2022, by the Kafanchan divisional headquarters of the command, alongside six other suspects.

They were alleged to loaded multiple rail sheets of steel into two trucks in a bush near Camuru Station in the Katchia Local Government Area of the state when the policemen swooped on them.

The names of other suspected vandals were given as Idris Bawa, Idris Musa, Shamsu Abdulahi, Anthony Moses and Yunana Gaius.

Three weeks earlier, the Kafanchan Railway Police Division of the command, reportedly intercepted a truck fully loaded with railway slippers along Bankin-Kaninkon-Kogi road.

The suspected vandals were said to have fled the scene abandoning the truck on sighting the police.

During the investigation, one Ahmed Tanko, who resides in Dangoma Village Jam ‘A Local Government Area of Kaduna State was arrested and reportedly confessed to the crime.

Efforts according to the Commissioner of Police, Railway Police Command headquarters, CP Yetunde Longe, who confirmed both cases, were being intensified to apprehend his fleeing accomplices.

She disclosed that three other suspects, Abdukarim Haruna, Hassan Dahiru and Bashir Mumuhamed, were also apprehended by the Kano Division of the Railway Command, with the recovery of 51 railway slippers, 26 rail sheets of steel and several quantities of destroyed rail iron rods and slippers.

Also in Oyo State, she said the Dugbe Railway Police Division, Ibadan, arrested “an O’ War official identified as Azeez Wahab with a BAGCO bag containing 50 NRC tool bolts without a satisfactory account of how he found them.

“Similarly, the Offa Division of the Railway Command, Kwara State, also arrested one Ibukun of Railway Mechanical Department (Diesel Maintenance Section) for vandalism and stealing aluminium in one of the unused coaches within the train station premises; while the Minna divisional headquarters also arrested one Aliyu for vandalizing railway clips in Minna, Niger State,” she stated.

“In another development, the Bodija Divisional Headquarters of the Railway Command in Ibadan arrested a 20-year-old armed robbery suspect identified as Abdulahi Fatai aka ‘Akube’.

“Investigations revealed that the case is connected to that of another armed robbery suspect who was earlier arrested in December 2021, while going for an operation”.

She, therefore, warned criminal elements to desist from vandalizing government properties, especially the railways, threatening that anyone caught would be dealt with to the full extent of the law.

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