Police arrest two suspected train vandals in Lagos
The police in Lagos have arrested two men suspected to specialise in vandalising and stealing railway track.
They were said to have been arrested in the early hours of Monday January 30 while conveying in a private car some pieces of cut off rail track to an unknown destination.
Spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, disclosed the arrest of the two suspects on his Twitter handle.
He stated, ”At about 1am today, a patrol team from Ijora Badia Division intercepted a Mitsubishi Lancer car conveying vandalised railway tracks. The two occupants of the vehicle have been arrested. Investigation is ongoing.”
Some incidents of train derailment in parts of the country have been traced to sudden damage to rail track suspected to have been done by vandals.
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.”
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.
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