Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said the plan is for the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge to start operating from the Apapa seaport in January 2021 after the inauguration of the new line by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said there was a need for all stakeholders to cooperate with the project contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), to ensure the delivery of the project ahead of the inauguration.
He spoke in Lagos against the backdrop of a recent disagreement between the CCECC and management of the APM Terminal over the demolition of some sections of the Lagos Port Complex to create room for the laying of rail track into the ports. But APM Terminal viewed this as impeding its operations.
The minister said he had already informed President Buhari about the inauguration arrangement, adding that the project must be completed up to the Apapa port terminal extension.
Amaechi was at the APM Terminal in the Apapa Port Complex in company with the Chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Alhassan Musa; Managing Director of the NRC, Fidet Okhiria; his Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) counterpart, Hadiza Bala Usman.
He said there was no going back on the plan to inaugurate the new rail line in January 2021.
The minister said, “I have already told the President we are commissioning it in January. So there is already an answer and we are working towards that answer and we must achieve that time because the President is aware.
“By Monday, I am going to the President’s office to give them a date and it must be January. This is not a political statement and it is not going to be Ebute-Meta to Ibadan. No. What is critical is that we must find a solution to the gridlock. The moment we begin to move wagons from the seaports, at least to Ibadan, pressure on Lagos will reduce drastically and that is my objective.”
Amaechi directed the APM Terminal to allow the rail project contractor to access the construction area as contained in the project design.
The NPA MD also restated the directive for the APMT to cooperate with the contractor to work according to the project design and specifications.
She said it was not for the terminal operator to dictate to the government and insisted that everybody was duty bound to comply with the directive of the government to fast-track the construction work.
FG okays N718m contracts to secure Abuja rail tracks, stations
The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved N718.19 million contracts to two security outfits to protect the 45-kilometre Abuja rail tracks and stations.
Minister of the FCT, Mohammed Bello, said this while speaking with journalists at the end of the FEC meeting.
In March, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) suspended its Abuja-Kaduna train operations after some gunmen planted explosives on the rail track and attacked passengers.
Bello said the security services are majorly to protect key infrastructures on the rail tracks, the signalling and communication equipment as well as the electrical system.
He added that the security agencies are Messers Al-Ahali Security Guards Limited and Messers Seaguard Security and Protective Company Limited.
“I presented a memo at the Federal Executive Council meeting of today, and the council approved a contract for the provision of security services for the Abuja Light Rail Mass Transit System,” he said.
“These companies are going to provide security to the entire 45 kilometres of track including 12 stations.
“Al-Ahali security guard Limited is going to secure 27.4 kilometres of the track, covering eight stations at the cost of N407,214,000 over two years, while Seaguard Securities and Protective Company Limited are going to secure 18 kilometres of the rail tracks including four railway stations and that is at a cost of N310,979,250.”
Minister gives two conditions to restart Abuja-Kaduna train service
Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, says the Federal Government cannot restart the Abuja-Kaduna train services now because it will be insensitive to the plight of families whose loved ones are still in captivity.
He said this Wednesday while fielding questions from State House reporters at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said two core matters remained at the heart of the delay in the resumption of Abuja-Kaduna train services suspended after the March 2022 attack.
The minister said these included families traumatized over their members still in captivity of terrorists and the need to have surveillance facilities to monitor the tracks.
He said government was looking at the best options in terms of the surveillance including concessioning it in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Asked about definite timelines to execute the initiative, Sambo said: “If I give a timeline, I’ll be lying to you. It will be insensitive to restart the service if some families weep day and night over their members still in the bush.”
The minister said government was mindful of cost involved but should be able to report definite progress in about a month.
He announced that FEC approved a contract for the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) worth about N1.49 billion for the repair of cranes.
Chinese contractor lays final track beam of Lagos blue rail
- New rail line may extend to Agbara, Ogun State
The laying of the last track beam (T-beam) of a 27-kilometre Lagos Blue Rail Mass Transit commenced on Wednesday with a promise to deliver the landmark project in December this year as scheduled.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu flagged off the engineering procedure at the site of the Marina station of the rail project.
A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, said, “with the laying of the final T-Beam, all difficult civil works standing in the way of the Lagos Blue Rail Line, which started in 2012, have been overcome.
“The contractor – China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) – will now go ahead to set the rail tracks along the alignment and move the project to completion.”
It said Governor Sanwo-Olu got the commitment of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) and the contractor to the December deadline for the Blue Line project’s completion.
Lagos Government will be delivering two rail mass transit projects within the first term of the Sanwo-Olu administration. The Blue Line traversing between Mile 2 and Marina will be operated on Electric Motor Unit (EMU); while the 37-kilometre Red Line, from Agbado to Ebute Metta, will operate on Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).
Speaking at the launch of the last T-Beam on the Blue Line, Sanwo-Olu said the achievement signposted his administration’s commitment to bringing succour to Lagosians and give them choices in mass transportation.
The governor said the rail projects represented the audacity of his administration’s vision to deliver a robust integrated transit system as encapsulated in the Traffic Management and Transportation pillar of his government’s T.H.E.M.E.S. development agenda.
He said, “Today’s final T-beam launch indicates that we are gradually inching to the completion of the civil infrastructure for the first phase of the Blue Line traversing from Mile 2 to Marina. The engineering work today completes a total of 1,967 piles foundation, while we have also completed three 306 platforms, 310 piers, 267 cover beams and erection of 984 T-beams.
“We are not just making promises; people are beginning to see for themselves that all the milestones and the difficult tasks we are meant to achieve to ensure operation of the Blue Line are being achieved. The Marina Station, which is the iconic terminal for the Blue Line, will be completed within two-and-half months. I am restating here that we will formally complete this Blue Line before December 31, 2022.”
The governor said the two sets of EMU coaches already procured for the Blue Line operations would arrive in Lagos from China before the end of October. He said the rail line would be test run immediately after completion, while passenger movement would start within the first quarter of 2023.
Sanwo-Olu said the construction of the second phase of the Blue Line project would commence after the start of operation, which would extend the rail project from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko.
He said Blue Line stations would be built at Festac, Alakija, Trade Fair, Volkswagen, LASU and Okokomaiko.
The governor disclosed that talks were being held with the Ogun State Government for possible extension of the rail line to Agbara.
He said, “The second phase of the Blue Line project will be an easy infrastructure to develop because the marked alignment for stations and tracks are largely at grid level. While we are at this, the Red Line is also on the way. This is a start-and-end project for our administration, with about seven stations concurrently being built. This will redefine mass transportation in Lagos.
“To our citizens, I say the Blue Line is for real and you will ride on it in no distant future. For the Doubting Thomases and people that do not like our face, their eyes cannot disbelieve in the infrastructure we are bequeathing to the citizens of our State. They cannot disbelieve in our bold effort and commitment to improve mobility and deliver transport infrastructure that brings ease to our people.”
LAMATA Managing Director, Abimbola Akinajo, an engineer, said the first 13-kilometre stretch of the Blue Line construction was divided into four phases to enable the government to fund the project from its internally generated revenue.
To get to the current status, she said the construction work experienced disturbances and delays in the relocation of submarine cables, submarine natural gas pipelines, and removal of underground shipwrecks.
“Just as we are laying the final T-beam for the rail tracks, we are also currently retrofitting the train stations at Mile 2, Alaba, Iganmu and National Theatre with light in readiness for passenger operation in the first quarter of 2023,” Akinajo said.
CCECC Chairman, Mr Liu Wei Min, described the event as the most significant level of the project.
He said, “We express our sincere gratitude to the present administration under the leadership of Mr Sanwo-Olu in reaching this milestone.
“We will continue to work to meet the ultimate target in delivering the entire project with high standards and quality.”
The T-beam laying event was also attended by Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos, Mr Chu Mao ming.
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