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The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehuon Friday said Nigeria was not building any rail line to Niger Republic.

He said the plan was to construct the rail line up to the border that Nigeria shares with the neighbouring country and not into the country itself.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had told State House correspondents on Wednesday that the Federal Executive Council approved $1.96 billion for the construction of a rail line to link Kano, Dutse, Katsina and Maradi in Niger Republic.

But following nationwide outrage, Shehu, in a series of tweets posted on his Twitter handle, @GarShehu, clarified that Nigeria would only construct the rail line to the border it shares with Niger Republic in Maradi.

He wrote, “Nigeria isn’t building rail line into Niger but, only to the designated border point.

“An agreement between Nigeria and Niger in 2015, coordinated by the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation has a plan for Kano-Katsina-Maradi Corridor Master Plan, K2M as it is called.

“Going by this, the two nations would each build a rail track to meet at the border town of Maradi.

“Nigerian delegates to that meeting comprised officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Boundaries Commission, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Water Resources as well as those of Kano and Katsina states.

“The objective of the rail is the harnessing of raw materials, mineral resources and agricultural produce.

“When completed, it will serve domestic industries and play the role of a viable transportation backbone to the West African sub-region, starting with the neighbouring Niger Republic for their export and import logistic chain.”

Railway

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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Lagos blue rail will run on electric track, Sanwo-Olu warns

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  • Gives Apongbon Bridge traders three days to quit

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said the state’s blue line rail project from Okokomaiko to Marina has reached 90 per cent completion.

According to him, the contractors are working seven days a week so that the rail line would be operational by the first quarter of 2023.

He also said the blue line rail would run on electric tracks with electric motor vehicle (EMV) system and, therefore, warned citizens to keep off the track and ensure they don’t walk on it.

The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, said this on Sunday after an inspection of ongoing work on the project.

Sanwo-Olu told journalists after the inspection that the state government was on track with its efforts to complete work on both the blue and red line projects, which are intra-city, to strengthen the intermodal transportation system.

He said the Lagos State Government planned to bring two more sets of four-train coaches from China between September and October.

He added that adequate security would be put in place at every train station with the use of CCTV cameras.

“This is the first time I am taking you on the blue line to see where we are. The first phase of the blue line rail project starts from Mile 2 and terminates at Marina,” the governor was quoted as saying.

He also said, “Marina Station is an elevated station and it stretches out to outer Marina and terminates where the governor’s residence is. At the end of the station, you could see that the track is broken into two bridges; the back track is for parking.

“We are happy that the contractors are working seven days a week. The major aspect apart from the Marina Station is a sea crossing from Eko Bridge to join the outer Marina.

“They would finish it in about three months, and by the time we will come back in July, the concrete construction should have been completed.”

Sanwo-Olu also issued a three-day ultimatum to traders under the Apogbon Bridge on Lagos Island to vacate or risk demolition of the space by Wednesday this week.

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