Minister laments inadequate manpower slowing down Lagos-Ibadan rail project – Newstrends
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Minister laments inadequate manpower slowing down Lagos-Ibadan rail project

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Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said the sharp drop in manpower of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation attached to Nigerian railway projects due to COVID-19 is slowing down the pace of work on the new Lagos-Ibadan rail line.
He, however, expressed optimism that the project would be ready in record time, especially for the end of the year trips.
Amaechi spoke with journalists at Moniya Railway Station, Ibadan, during a routine inspection tour of the new rail line that took off from Ebute Meta Railway Complex, Lagos.
The minister was accompanied by the Ben Akabueze, Director General Budget Office of the Federation; Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani, among others.
The minister said he had advised the contractor handling the project, CCECC, to hire more workers and ensure they follow all safety protocols for coronavirus for adequate protection.
It was learnt that not some of the Chinese working on the project that travelled back to China before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had not returned to the country.
It was also learnt that the 10,000 contract workers handling different aspects of the project before the pandemic had been cut down to about 3,000.
Amaechi said, “We’ve told the contractors on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project to engage more workers across all stations for prompt completion.”
He added that a Nigerian team would meet with the CCECC managers on Tuesday to discuss measures to accelerate work on the project.
“On all other projects, including Ibadan-Kano, due to the slow pace of work on the Lagos -Ibadan, we have said that we will not commence work on any other contract until we have a comprehensive programme of work so that we see when you start, when you finish and the facilities that you need,” Amaechi said.
The minister debunked a report that his ministry was seeking over $650 million loan to complete ongoing work on the Lagos-Ibadan and Warri-Itakpe rail lines, noting that the funds sought for the projects had long been approved.
“I read somewhere that we are looking for additional $650 million for the expansion works on the Lagos-Ibadan and Itakpe-Warri corridors. This is not true.

“We said we would be needing $1.6 billion and that was long ago. The money has since been approved. It is not as if we are looking for additional funds for these projects. It is important that I clarify that.”
The minister also visited the signal control building for the new line being constructed in Lagos, apart from railway stations between Lagos and Ibadan to assess the level of work done.

Railway

Apprehension as passengers train derails in Kaduna

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JUST-IN: Abuja-Kaduna train terails, passengers stranded

A passenger train on Sunday derailed at Jere along the popular Abuja-Kaduna route, leaving the travellers stranded in the mountainous area.

The train was said to have left Kaduna at 8.05am heading for Abuja but developed fault about an hour later and stopped at Jere.

It was not immediately clear how many passengers were inside the train.

It was however learnt that more armed security personnel had been mobilised to the area in addition to those on the train to allay the fears of the passengers and their family members.

Senator Shehu Sani, in an alert raised on his verified X handle, stated, “A Kaduna morning train derails near Jere but engineers are attending to it.”

Workers of the Nigerian Railway Corporation have been drafted to the spot to repair the train, with about three carriages off the tracks.

Security personnel, including soldiers and police officers, are also on the spoke to keep watch over the passengers and the train.

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Finally, Port Harcourt-Aba train service begins with four-day free ride

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Finally, Port Harcourt-Aba train service begins with four-day free ride

A four-day free train ride from Port Harcourt in Rivers State to Aba, Abia State will begin today, May 1, signifying commencement of rail service along the 62-kilometre route.
This is coming a month after the train operation on the rehabilitated narrow gauge track was initially meant to start.
Minister of Transportation, Senator Saidu Alkali, inaugurated the rail service in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

Alkali said the project was part of the rehabilitation of 1,443km Port Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow gauge rail line.

He said that the Port Harcourt to Aba section of the project was the initial part of the Eastern narrow-gauge railway, aiming to connect five geopolitical zones of the country.

He said, “The Federal Government is pleased to inaugurate the train service from Port Harcourt to Aba, a key priority area of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
“We are grateful to God for the completion of the Port Harcourt to Aba section, which will bring succour to the people.
“The Eastern narrow gauge covers five geo-political zones of the country, including South-South, South-East, North-Central, North- West, and North-East,” he said.
Aba to Enugu rail is next
Alkali said following the completion of the first segment and the start of commercial operations of the rail service, the Federal Government would soon commence the construction of the Aba to Enugu rail project, linking the two states together.
He added that his ministry was working with investors to ensure the conversion of the locomotive across the country from diesel to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to reduce transportation costs further.
“Shortly, we will take a train ride from Port Harcourt to Aba, which means that from today, passenger train service has commenced.
“We will continue the project from Aba to Enugu and from Port Harcourt to both Onne and Port Harcourt seaports for freight services.
“The ministry is currently in discussion with an investor to convert our locomotive from diesel to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to reduce transportation costs further,” he said.
The minister assured Nigerians that arrangements were being made with security agencies to ensure adequate security along the rail routes.
He also announced free train rides from Port Harcourt to Aba between May 1 to May 4.
“The train will depart from Port Harcourt to Aba at 8am daily, while it will leave Aba to Port Harcourt at 3pm daily.
“Full commercial operations will resume on May 7, 2024,” he said.

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Our medical team tried to rescue policeman who died on Abuja-Kaduna train – NRC 

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Our medical team tried to rescue policeman who died on Abuja-Kaduna train – NRC 

 

The Nigerian Railway Corporation has reacted to the death of policemen while on escort duty aboard the Abuja-Kaduna train on April 5, saying the deceased received medical attention on the train.

It said this in a statement on Tuesday.

The police escort attached to the train was said to have died on the train conveying passengers from Kaduna to Abuja last Thursday.

The police officer reportedly complained of chest pain before he collapsed and died.

Some have accused the NRC of not having medical personnel on board.

But the NRC said there was a medical doctor on duty on the train when the incident happened.

It disclosed that the official was also assisted by a passenger, also a medical practitioner.

The statement read in part, “The NRC management wishes to emphatically inform the general public that we have well trained medical personnel and equipped medical cubicle to attend to any emergency health challenges of our esteemed passengers.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the medical personnel on duty was Mariam Abdulai who was assisted by a good Samaritan medical practitioner that happens to be our passenger on board to revive the ailing cop but was in futility.

“The management of the NRC expresses its heartfelt condolence to the bereaved family of the late police inspector, Nambut Selbol, who was escort on duty in Abuja – Kaduna train service on that fateful day.”

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