Buhari Reveals Plan For Rail Transport, Power Supply Nationwide

President Muhammadu Buhari has promised renewed and increased focus on infrastructure, revealing plans for a better railroad transportation nationwide.

The President in his New Year message on Monday morning said the Ministry of Power Works and Housing will be given increased attention as it is one of the drivers of the Federal Government’s commitment to renew and increase Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure in order to achieve global economic competitiveness.

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Buhari revealed that Kano-Kaduna rail line will commence this year and that negotiations on Port-harcourt to Maiduguri rail line will be concluded in the first part of this year.

“Construction of the Kano – Kaduna segment is expected to commence this year and reach Kaduna by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021 the two ends will be joined so that we will have standard gauge railway across the main North-South trading route. The Abuja – Kaduna route will be boosted by additional rolling stock next Thursday and will be able to handle one million commuters annually.

“At the same time I have approved and negotiations will be concluded in the first part of this year for the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri line covering Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Awka, Abakaliki, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and Damaturu. The Abuja to Itakpe line will go through Baro and terminate in Warri with construction of a new seaport at Warri.

Negotiations according to the President have also reached advance stage for the construction of other railway lines. This include from Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic passing through Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibia to Maradi.

He also revealed plans for Lagos to Calabar the “Coastal Rail” through Ore, Benin, Agbor, Asaba, Onitsha, Sapele, Ughelli, Warri, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port Harcourt, Aba, Uyo and Calabar.

“In the next few years, all these Nigerian cities will be linked by functional modern rail systems, giving enormous boost to the social and economic life of our people,” he said.

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On the Abuja Capital Light Rail, Buhari said progress has reached 98% completion and that only test runs remain before start of operations. This train service according to him will stimulate economic activities in the Federal Capital and provide residents with an efficient and safe transportation system.

“Twelve railway sub-stations around the capital over a 45.2 kilometre route will serve as a catalyst and a pull factor to the economy of the area. The Light Rail System will reduce traffic congestion and carbon emission in line with the Administration’s policy on climate change.

“Management of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has been reconstituted and has been charged with a 12-week rapid intervention in road repairs to cover all the geo-political zones. Government is undertaking repairs and maintenance of 44 roads within the six geo-political zones,” he added.

He said further that the Federal Government has approved work to start on the re-construction of Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano road and it is expected to be completed in 2019.

On Power supply across the nation, the President said more Nigerians across the country are experiencing improved power supply but power still remains a concern. He said the Payment Assurance Guarantee Scheme which started in January 2016 has enabled the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader to raise N701 billion so far, to assure Generation Companies of at least 80% payment for any power delivered to the national grid.

“Consequently, generation has now reached 7,000MW. On December 8, 2017 the country achieved 5,155MW of power delivered to consumers, the highest level ever recorded.”

Several moribund projects, the President revealed have been revived. This according to him includes repairs of Afam Power Station which added 110MW in 2017 and another 240MW will be added this year through a private investment partnership.

Katsina Power Project Buhari should be fully operational this year as it is now being tested and producing 10MW of power from wind for the first time in Nigeria.

“The Zungeru 700MW Hydroelectric Power Project, stalled by court cases is due for completion in 2019. The transmission and other requirements to operate the 30MW Gurara Phase 1 Hydroelectric Plant, the 40MW Kashimbilla Hydroelectric Plant and the 215 MW Kaduna Gas/LPG/Diesel Power Plant will also be completed this year.

A landmark project, Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project is at last taking off. This project has been on the drawing Board for 40 years, but now the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the 3,050MW project has been agreed with a Chinese joint venture Company with a financing commitment from the government of China. Completion is targeted for 2023,” he said.

President Buhari then said the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) can now distribute all the 7,000MW that can be generated.

TCN and the Niger Delta Holding Company according to him have added 1,950MVA of 330 down to 132KV transformer capacity of 10 transmission stations and 2,930MVA of 132 down to 33KV transformer capacity of 42 sub-stations including Ikot Ekpene, Aba, Alagbon, Ajah, Ejigbo, Funtua and Zaria.

FG Will Complete Lagos-Kano Rail Line This Year – Amaechi

Nigeria, Africa, AfricaThe Federal Government has announced that it will complete the Lagos-Kano rail project as well as a segment of the Lagos to Port Harcourt standard gauge before the end of 2017.

The Minister Of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this during an inspection of the container inland dry seaport in Kaduna State, North West Nigeria.

He explained that the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari is to establish a safe and efficient transport system that will boost economic activities across the country.

FG To Concession Nigerian Railway Corporation

FG To Concession Nigerian Railway CorporationThe Federal Government has concluded arrangements to concession the Nigerian Railway Corporation to any reputable foreign company.

Chairman of the NRC, Usman Abubakar, revealed this to newsmen after flagging off the maiden rail transportation of 800 tonnes of soya beans from Funtua to the Apapa port in Lagos.

He explained that the concession would be executed very soon.

According to him, the rail transport scheme is driven by the Nigerian Incentive Based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), in partnership with the Nigeria Railway Corporation.

He lamented that arrangements on the concession began about three weeks earlier, when the corporation advertised for bids from interested foreign companies to manage them.

“A number of foreign companies responded to the advertisement while the corporation has begun to study the bids submitted by the companies with a view to settling down for one that meets the laid down requirements and standards,” he said.

Rail operations to resume on Lagos-Kano line in six weeks – SURE-P

Rail transport in the country has received a boost with a disclosure that the Lagos-Kano line would resume full operations in six weeks’ time, after two years of suspended rail transport activities by the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).

This was disclosed on Tuesday by the Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P), Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) and Project Implementation Unit (PIU) of the Federal Ministry of Transport, after a week-long inspection tour of on-going projects in train stations across the country.

The NRC was forced to suspend rail operations on the busy commercial route when the crucial Akerri Bridge linking the North and Southern Nigeria was washed away by flash floods.

However, following the recent financing intervention of its rehabilitation by the SURE-P Committee, NRC announced that rail operations would commence in six weeks when repairs on the Bridge would have been completed.

The SURE-P Committee member and Sub-committee convener on Railways, Chike Okogwu, who led a team of inspectors drawn from a pool of professional engineers of PIU and NRC, confirmed this to journalists.

Mr Okogwu said that they embarked on the tour having been mandated by the presidency to get railway back on track, SURE-P injected massive funds into the otherwise crumbling transport sector and ensured that work commenced almost immediately on a dozen sites across the country.

Also, the Chairman of the PIU, Eric Onyeiwu, said that the week-long verification exercise has not just enabled the team to evaluate work-in-progress at the various sites, but has been useful for proper decision taking.

Mr Onyeiwu said that although members of the PIU were worried about the slow pace of work by some of the contractors on site particularly work on Asa community in Aba, contracted to Esser Nigeria Ltd, they were delighted by the overall performance of the contractors.

“Many of the contractors are performing well. But we also have issues to sort out with a few of them. We are expecting NRC to give us more detailed information about those areas we are not contented with”, he said.

“There is a noticeable improvement in the quality of work done, improvement by the commitment of NRC, improvement by the contractors and others involved in the projects,” he added.

The delegation kicked off their visit from Lagos and went through Port Harcourt, Aba, Makurdi, Lafia, Kafanchan and Gombe and ended on inspections at Akerri Bridge and Brigde 73 near Minna in Niger State.

Lawmaker says Western rail line will be ready before December

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, Sahabi Ya’u on Sunday said that the Western Rail Line which is expected to connect Lagos, Ibadan, Jebba and Kaduna to Kano would be fully operational before the end of this year.

Brighter days ahead for Nigeria's railway.

Mr Ya’u who disclosed this while addressing journalists in Abuja, said that the Western Rail Line, which is 90 per cent completed, would have started functioning long time ago “if not for the Akere Bridge that collapsed’’.

“I assure Nigerians that the line would be in use before the end of this year; it’s just remaining some little finishing touches.’’

He said the committee would, in the next few days, embark on an oversight visit to the Eastern Rail Line project where “work is going on at a slow pace’’.

“In the next one or two weeks, we will be out on oversight duty and we will make sure that every kobo that is put into the railway project is spent wisely.’’

He said rehabilitation work had also started on some narrow gauge lines inherited from the colonial masters.

He said there was also budgetary provision for standard gauge rail lines from Lagos to Ibadan, and from Itakpe to Ajaokuta.

The Senator said that there was provision in the 2012 budget for the completion of the Itakpe-Ajaokuta standard gauge line, which will transport steel products to the ports.

He said the projects and the Abuja-Idu-Kaduna standard gauge line were expected to be completed before the end of this year, adding that the standard gauge lines were being constructed in phases because of the amount of money involved.

“We want to start the standard gauge in segmentation; it is being segmented instead of being awarded in whole because it is a very huge amount of money, which the country cannot afford at once.

“In the next few years, we will be having standard gauge rail lines running from Lagos to Kano and from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri,’’ he said.