Lagos, other states get green light to run railways, generate power
State governments can now build and run railway systems independently.
This became a reality on Friday after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the amended railway bill into a law.
With the President’s assent, the amended Railway Act has been moved from exclusive legislative list to concurrent.
Senator Babajide Omoworare, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), in a statement confirmed the development.
It was one of the 16 Constitution Amendment Bills the President signed into law.
It also includes granting state houses of assembly constitutional financial independence and power to license, generate, transmit and distribute electricity.
The signing of the amended railway act is coming barely a month after Lagos State Government inaugurated its first mass transit light train codenamed Blue Rail.
Incidentally, Buhari was given the opportunity to launch the completed new rail project.
The line is currently being test-run by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority for members of the public.
LAMATA could however not commence commercial operations of the Blue Rail before now because of the legislative encumbrance.
The state government plans to build seven rail lines linking different parts of the state over a period of time.
Some other state governments have indicated interest to start rail projects.
The Federal Capital Territory Authority’s undertaken rail project can now be operated independently.
Now that the bills have been assented to, and have become Acts of Parliament, the next step is the gazetting. This is the process by which the assented Acts are published in the Official Gazette of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He said other bills are to enable states generate, transmit, and distribute electricity in areas covered by the national grid; and for related matters.
Kano-Maradi rail project gets funds for rolling stock
The Federal Government has taken a major move to accelerate the construction of the first international rail line in Nigeria, the Kano-Maradi (Niger Republic) line, with funds approval for rolling stock needed for the project.
This came from the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday as it approved N453.90bn, part of which would be used for the procurement of rolling stock, operation and maintenance equipment for the standard gauge rail line currently under construction.
Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, disclosed this in Abuja after this week’s FEC meeting chaired by the President Muhammadu Buhari.
The 248km rail line will run from Kano through cities such as Kazaure in Bauchi State, Daura and Mashi in Katsina State; Dutse in Jigawa State, the border town of Jibia, before terminating in Niger Republic’s trade and agricultural hub of Maradi.
The line has 15 stations along its path with an expected daily traffic of 9,364 passengers and about 3,000 metric tonnes of cargo.
Sambo said, “The memorandum sought council’s consideration and approval for the award of contract for the procurement of rolling stock, operation or maintenance equipment for the Kano-Maradi standard gauge rail line that is currently under construction.
“The contract was awarded to MSSRs Mota-Engil Nigeria Limited, who are the contractors handling this particular project in the sum of $984,722,302.5 inclusive of seven and a half per cent VAT with a completion period of four years.”
The minister also disclosed that the Transport ministry presented another memo on behalf of the Nigerian Ports Authority “for the award of contract for the construction and supply of four customised Fire Service search and rescue vans for extrication of accident victims for Rivers Ports in Port Harcourt, Lagos Port complex, Tincan Island Port and the Marina headquarters of the NPA, all in Lagos.
“Council considered the memorandum and approved the award of the contract as recommended and reviewed by the Bureau of Public Procurement in the sum of N510,934,600 inclusive of seven and a half percent VAT with a completion period of nine months in favour of Messrs All Works Commercial Company Limited.”
Train accidents: Red rail line ready May 29 with five overpasses, says Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu says his administration will complete the construction of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT), Red Line Project, before the end of his first term in office.
He said the line would have five overpasses to replace all level crossings along the route and avert train/vehicle collision.
Sanwo-Olu stated this on Tuesday after the inspection tour of the project that took him to Yaba and Ebute Meta axis of the state, where train stations and vehicular bridges overpass are sited.
He said the train stations were 75 to 80 per cent completed and while overpass was 95 per cent completed.
He said the state government was working with all the stakeholders, most especially the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to complete the project.
He said the project at different stages of completion would have five overpasses, to be located at Oyingbo, Yaba, Mushin to Onipanu, and Ikeja, to forestall train-vehicle accidents and reduce travel time for Lagosians.
The governor said the state government was particularly discussing with the NRC in the area of train signalling, adding that there was a need to “harmonize the signalization between our rail infrastructure and the Nigerian Railway Corporation rail infrastructure.”
He also said, “All the vehicular overpass bridges are very important because of the unfortunate train and bus accident that we saw a few weeks ago at Shogunle.”
Sanwo-Olu said the two train stations on the axis were at various advance stages of completion and expressed satisfaction with the level of work on the Redline rail project and on the stretch of Ebute-Meta to Agbado.
The governor said when the project is completed, the unfortunate train accident which claimed lives at the PWD rail crossing could be averted considering the design of the ongoing modern red line project.
He said, “You have seen the train stations, especially the Yaba and Oyingbo train stations. We started at Yaba and we also have a vehicular bridge overpass. With the train station we believe we are about 75 to 80 per cent complete and with the bridge it’s about 90 to 95 per cent but the adjoining road to Yaba would be cleaned up.”
FG begins construction of 11 flyovers at Lagos level crossings
The Federal Government has commenced the construction of flyovers at the 11 level crossings in Lagos State to avoid train/vehicle collision.
Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation , Mr Fidet Okhiria, disclosed this in an interview.
He said they had started the separation of the road from the rail in Oyingbo and Ebute-Meta.
This is coming about a week after the Shogunle level crossing accident in Lagos, leading to the death of six people and 79 others seriously injured.
Driver of the Lagos State Government Staff bus was said to have ignored the warning of an NRC flag officer at the Shogunle level crossing and attempted to cross to the other side when the train crashed into his bus, dragging the vehicle for about 100 metres before stopping.
Okhiria said the corporation had already constructed an underground pass and an overhead pass at the Agege level crossing, adding, “We are going to have 11 flyovers within Lagos. But cannot do all at the same time. We are constructing them in batches.
“Before now, we constructed barriers and they were vandalised. We even constructed automatic barriers which were also vandalised.
“Although we have been repairing them, especially the automatic barriers, they do not last for a week after such repairs. It is either they hit the barriers with vehicles or people vandalise them overnight.”
He revealed that the NRC management had planned to get gatemen to stop vehicles and avoid accidents while passing through the level crossings, assuring that it would deploy men and technology to alert road users whenever trains approached the level crossings.
Okhiria noted that all over the world people obeyed simple traffic regulations, but that in Nigeria motorists usually violate traffic signs.
He therefore urged motorists to be more careful while passing through level crossings, reminding them that life had no duplicate.
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