Construction work will commence on $1.9bn rail line that will link Kano with Maradi in Niger Republic, the Federal Government has said.
This is coming after the contractor handling the project has been given the go-ahead to acquire the right of way for the new line.
Already, the government has ordered payment of compensation to people whose land and other property will be affected by the construction of the new rail line. The Federal Executive Council had last month approved the disbursement of $1.96bn for the railway project.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who confirmed the payment of compensation, said this would ensure that the commencement of construction work in January 2021 without any inhibition.
Amaechi said, “Kano-Maradi is at the stage of loan negotiation. In fact, we are fast-tracking them (the Chinese), they are doing front engineering now even before the loan; we are insisting on that.
“We believe that the front engineering should end before January and we should be able to start construction before then.
“We have told them to start acquiring the right of way; pay compensation and start clearing the right of way so that they be ready when the front engineering is over.”
Some people and groups have criticised the extension of railway to Niger Republic while many major states in Nigeria are yet to have the facility.
But the minister has risen in defence of the project, saying it will afford the country the opportunity to compete in the area of transporting cargoes and services to and from landlocked neighbouring countries like Niger via the seaports in Lagos, adding that it is all about economy, not politics.
The new rail line will from Kano link Jigawa, Katsina, Jibia to Maradi in Niger Republic.
Specifically, media aide to the President, Ajuri Ngelale, said, “The rail line will connect three states: Kano, Katsina and Jigawa. It moves from Kano to Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, terminating in Maradi, Niger Republic. This financially empowers Nigeria as the import/export hub for Niger.”
Just in: Nigerian railway postpones resumption of Abuja-Kaduna train indefinitely
The Nigerian Railway Corporation has postponed indefinitely the resumption of its suspended Abuja-Kaduna train service, following public outcry against the initial decision to return to operation next Monday May 23.
The service was suspended after terrorists on March 28 attacked a passenger train on that route, near Kaduna, killing eight people and abducting over 60 passengers, most of who are still in captivity.
The NRC had earlier in the week said the Federal Government had approved that train service should resume next Monday while efforts are being intensified to secure the release of those still held captive.
But relatives of the abducted by train passengers kicked against this, vowing to obstruct any train operation on the route without the release of their loved ones. Some option leaders also called on the government to rescind its decision to resume the train service.
A statement by the NRC Deputy Director Public Relations, Mahmoud Yakubu, on Friday evening announced a shift in the resumption date of the Abuja-Kaduna train and apologised for this.
It also said, “A new date will be announced soonest. The NRC will continue to cooperate and collaborate with the Federal Government in its uncompromising mandate of protecting the territorial integrity and the internal security of Nigeria for safeguarding the lives and properties of its citizens especially as it concerns the rail subsector.”
The corporation identified with relatives of those in captivity after the last train attack, adding that actions were being taken to secure their safe release.
It stated, “The Federal Government is alive to its
responsibility for the safe rescue of all persons being held hostage. We therefore appeal, particularly to the relatives of persons held hostage to be patient and cooperate with the corporation and the security agencies.”
Just in: Abuja-Kaduna train service resumes Monday May 23, says NRC
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.
Army sergeant, 13 others arrested with three truckloads of rail track materials
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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