Construction work on $1.9bn Kano-Maradi (Niger Republic) rail line will start on Tuesday (tomorrow) after the inauguration of the project by President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said.
He also said the bulk of the funds for the project would be sourced from Europe.
Amaechi spoke on a Channels Television programme, Sunday Politics, February 7, 2021.
The project, he said, was one of Nigeria’s strategic attempts to position the country to take advantage of Niger’s landlocked status as it connects Kano to Apapa port in Lagos.
The minister said, “The project is going to cost us $1.9bn and we will source it from mostly Europe.”
The just constructed 156-kilometre Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway was funded by a $1.3 billion loan from the Export-Import Bank of China and about $182 million from the Nigerian government. Similarly, China is expected to provide 85 per cent of the $5.3bn for the construction of new Ibadan-Kano railway.
Amaechi, however, noted that the country had not secured the money, stressing that “we are about concluding.”
He had in tweet on Friday said President Buhari would on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, perform the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kano-Maradi, Kano-Dutse railway project.
This is coming after the approval of about $1.9bn by the Federal Executive Council in September 2020, for the rail line and the subsequent signing of the contract documents for the commencement of the project last month.
The minister also on the Channels TV programme spoke on how long it would take the country to repay the loan.
He said, “That is the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance. When we would pay; what are the terms of agreement for the loan and all that would be the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance.
“So, that question can be directed to the Minister for Finance. For us in Transportation, our job is to work with the Ministry of Finance to procure the loan and commence construction and we think we would commence construction on Tuesday.”
He stated that the project would open up the country to more investment, arguing that it was in Nigeria’s best interest for the Kano-Maradi railway to be constructed.
Amaechi said, “The interest is national; the interest is about Nigeria. The Maradi terminal is just 20 kilometres away from Nigeria; just 20 kilometres. So, there is no huge investment like Nigerians are thinking.”
According to the minister, the Lagos-Kano commercial corridor transports 30,000,000 tonnes of cargo annually, with only 200,000 of that currently carried by rail and the rest by road.
The railway project is expected to connect three Nigerian northern states, namely: Kano, Katsina and Jigawa and then terminate at Maradi, Niger Republic.
“We are pleased to announce the groundbreaking of the Kano-Maradi, Kano-Dutse Railway Project, slated for Tuesday, our President, Muhammadu Buhari would do the honours. Work begins,” he stated.
The Federal Government had about three weeks ago, during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with Mota-Engil Group, the contractors for the project, disclosed that the Kano-Maradi railway project would be completed within 36 months.
The rail line is expected to help Nigeria compete favourably with other coastal countries of West Africa in servicing the landlocked countries in the area of movement of cargoes and make Lagos ports viable.
As Abuja-Kaduna train resumes operations today, IGP deploys specially armed police
More than eight months after the popular Abuja-Kaduna passenger train service was suspended, it will resume operations today (Monday) December 5 with the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, ordering the deployment of specially armed personnel along the corridor to safeguard the area.
Spokesman for the Nigeria Police Force Olumuyiwa Adejobi, in a statement on Sunday, said the security operatives would be drawn from the police mobile force, K-9, force intelligence bureau, explosive ordinance unit and railway police command.
Terrorists attacked an Abuja-Kaduna passenger train on March 28, 2022, in which about eight persons were killed and 63 declared abducted. The abducted persons were later released in batches over a period of time.
Adejobi said the Nigeria Police Force had been in regular talks with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) and other security agencies in preparation for the commencement of operations.
“The deployment covers major railway stations along the route and operational coaches to provide adequate security for passengers, their property and the entire service in order to prevent any unforeseen incident,” he said.
The police spokesman also said the IGP had assured the public, especially intending passengers, of adequate protection of lives and property.
He quoted the IGP as saying that all hands would be on deck to fortify the railway services along the route and other rail lines across the country.
The Federal Government had said operations would resume on the corridor last month. However, there was a delay in bringing the plans to fruition.
The FG, in its latest schedule, drew up another timeline for resumption.
Managing Director of the NRC, Fidet Okhiria, said in a statement on Saturday that the first train would depart Rigasa train station in Kaduna to Abuja by 8:00 in the morning while from Abuja, the first train would depart Idu train station to Kaduna by 9:45 in the morning.
As part of the new security measures, according to him, it is now mandatory for passengers to present their National Identity Number and valid boarding ticket before they will be allowed to board the train.
Abuja-Kaduna train: NRC opens online, mobile app ticketing Sunday 8am
…gives more stringent conditions
As train operation resumes on the Abuja-Kaduna rail corridor this Monday December 5, 2022, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has said that the purchase of tickets by proxy for the Abuja-Kaduna passenger train service will be limited to only minors and a specified number of adult passengers.
It also stated that online and mobile app ticketing would be available from 8am in the on Sunday, December the 4th, 2022 while the ticket offices at the train stations would open from 6:30am on Monday, December the 5th.
This is part of the stringent security measures announced by the NRC as contained in a new statement issued by the management of the corporation.
The statement also indicated that the first train would depart the Rigasa Train Station in Kaduna State to Abuja by 8am while from Abuja, the first train would depart Idu Train Station to Kaduna by 9:45am.
The NRC management also revealed that as part of the new security measures, it is now mandatory for passengers to present their National Identity Number (NIN) and valid boarding ticket before they will be allowed to board.
Part of the statement by the NRC read, “This is to inform the general public that Nigerian Railway Corporation on the directive of the Federal Government through the Ministry of Transportation will resume the Abuja Kaduna Passenger train service on Monday 5th December 2022.
“The commuting public is hereby advised that as part of the new security measures on the Abuja Kaduna service, it is now mandatory to present the following documents before being allowed to board the train:
“National Identification Number (NIN) to every adult boarding the train.
“Valid boarding ticket: No access will be allowed into the departure or arrival hall without a valid ticket.
“Purchase of tickets by proxy is only limited to minors and a specified number of adult passengers.
“All individual adult travellers must submit their NIN before the ticket can be issued.’’
The NRC suspended train service on the Abuja Kaduna route following the attack by some terrorists on a moving passenger train on March 28, 2022, with many passengers on board.
The attack which occurred a few kilometres from Kaduna metropolis had about eight people killed, with dozens injured and some others kidnapped by the bandits.
The terrorists, who attacked the Kaduna-bound train have released hostages in tranches with the last release coming on October 5, 2022.
NRC will resume Abuja-Kaduna train operations Monday Dec 5 – MD Okhiria
‘Update mobile app for booking’ – NRC says Abuja-Kaduna train to resume on Monday
The Federal Government says the Abuja-Kaduna train services will commence on Monday, December 5, 2022.
Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, stated this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria, stressing that all was set for the resumption of train operations along that route on Monday
He, however, advised passengers to begin updating their mobile apps as from December 3, 2022, to enable them to successfully book for rides.
He noted that services would commence with two train rides from Abuja to Kaduna and vice versa.
Okhiria said, “AK 1 will depart Idu Station at 9:45hrs and arrive at Rigasa station at 11:53hrs. KA 2 will depart Rigasa at 8:00hrs and arrive Idu station at 10:17hrs. AK 3 will depart Idu Station at 15:30hrs and arrive Rigasa Station at 17:38hrs. And KA 4 will depart Rigasa at 14:00hrs and arrive Idu Station at 16:07hrs.
The NRC boss assured passengers of the federal government’s commitment to ensure safety of lives and properties on board its train at all times.
The continued delay in resumption had sparked speculations that services would recommence last Monday.
But on Tuesday, Mua’zu Sambo, minister of transportation, said train services on the corridor would resume within seven days.
The minister said this was to enable passengers to get used to the new requirements (phone number and national identification number) for boarding the train.
“Your purchase of a ticket requires you to provide a phone number and a national identification number in order to profile, because that is the beginning of the security checks.
“So, at any point in time when a train moves from one station to another, we know who and who is on board.
“If you don’t have a national identification number (NIN) you are not going to board our train. It is as simple as that.”
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