Once Flourishing Maiduguri Railway Terminal Now In Ruins

borno-railway-in-ruinsThe once flourishing railway terminal of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, now lies in ruins after years of closure.

Residents recount the good old days when trains were the backbone of their local economy.

The railway terminal and the abandoned trains have now been overgrown by grasses while internally displaced persons occupy some parts.

A middle aged widow of a retired railway worker says life was a lot easier in the days when the railway transport was functional.

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Coaches of a train has been abandoned for years

The railway transportation came with several business opportunities for locals and provided able bodied young men with gainful employment culminating into the creation of a railway village.

It was a major means of transportation in Nigeria before poor maintenance culture and lack of attention to the sector brought it to an almost comatose situation.

Few meters away from the office terminal lies the rubbles of the birthplace of Boko Haram under the leadership of the late Muhammad Yusuf, a beneficiary of the railway himself.

Many idle youths living in the area were reportedly lured and recruited by the group, according to the community leader who recounts his childhood days when everyone was gainfully employed.

The revival of the Kaduna and Gombe State train station gives hope to residents of Maiduguri yearning for the reopening of their own train station.

At the moment,the Nigerian government is looking at concessioning the railways

It has opened negotiation with GE to concession the Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, aba, Umuahia, Enugu, Bauchi, Gombe and even Borno among others, the Minister in charge of the sector told Channels Television.

The Minister of Transport, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, hopes the concession will be concluded by March 2017.

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While these train coaches are abandoned in northern Borno, in the southwest region, Lagos State is Nigeria’s commercial nerve and train coaches appear not to be enough for train users.

Daily, users of train, most of whom have paid for tickets but could not get a place to sit, resort to hanging on the body or climbing to the top, a situation that calls for government’s quick intervention in the sector that holds huge potential of serving as an alternative and reliable means of transportation in Nigeria.

FG Inaugurates Enugu- Port Harcourt Intercity Train Service

Railway ProjectThe Nigerian government on Tuesday inaugurated Enugu- Port Harcourt-Enugu intercity train service, with a promise to also construct a coastal railway line from Lagos to oil producing states in the Niger delta region.

At the inauguration ceremony in Port Harcourt, President Goodluck Jonathan, represented by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, said his administration had been able to manage the Nigerian economy such that it had risen to be the greatest economy in Africa and one of the largest in the world.

He said that his government had changed the course of history with the railway system in the last few years, moving it from a neglected sector to a rehabilitated and revitalised one by rehabilitating the existing narrow gauge railway lines, their operations and maintenance.

The President further said the administration would construct coastal railway line that would link up commercial cities in the south-east region.

According to him, the Abuja-Kaduna rail project was at 90 per cent completion stage while the warri- Itakpe project was at an advanced stage.

“We have introduced programmes that have impacted positively on the lives of the people and addressed key issues in our national agenda,” he said, stressing that he had fulfilled his electioneering campaign promises made to Nigerians before the 2011 presidential election.

The Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, said the construction of Lagos-Ibadan railway line would commerce soon.

Mr Umar said that the warri-Itakpe rail project was progressing steadily.

He said more than 90 per cent of the existing narrow gauge rail lines in Nigeria were under rehabilitation and noted that the rail ways were very significant to the country’s economy.

The Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr Adeseyi Sijuwade, said that the rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt railway had many challenges, but expressed delight that it had been completed.

Fashola Urges FG To Put More Efforts In Rail Transport Revival

babatunde Fashola on Railway maintenance The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has reiterated the need for the Federal Government to pay more attention to the revival of the rail transport system in Nigeria, as it remains the most viable means of transporting heavy cargo, especially petroleum products, across the country.

Fashola made the call on Sunday while inspecting the abandoned Nigerian Railway Corporation Maintenance Yard in Apapa, Lagos State.

The Nigerian Railway Corporation Maintenance Yard was established by the British colonialists with a network of rail lines leading from the Apapa Industrial Estate and on which heavy cargo is brought into and taken out of the Ports for delivery across the country.

The Yard and its surroundings are overgrown with weed while the entire area, including abandoned and decaying coaches, have been turned into living hovels by people.

Governor Fashola told reporters that he was at the site to evaluate the entire project for the purpose of resuscitating and bringing it back to life.

He said that the State Government would make a comprehensive report to the Federal Government on what needed to be done in order to make the rail system effective and efficient.

The Governor, who was conducted round the facility by the Chairman, Lagos State Taskforce on the Environment and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit, CSP Adebayo Sulaiman, maintained that road transportation was not the best way to move cargo across the country. He expressed regrets that the Federal Government had deliberately turned its back on rail transportation, preferring to continue to move petroleum products by road with the attendant hazards.Babatunde_Fashola_Railway_Inspection

“This is a project that we departed from as a people. This is the Nigerian Railway Corporation Maintenance Yard which also leads out of the Apapa Industrial Area. This is where goods from Apapa were evacuated when I was a child. This is what the Federal Government has walked away from.

“We are trying to see how we can get it working again. We want to get the Federal Government to come back here and revamp it. We must do everything in our power to deemphasize road haulage as means of transporting heavy cargo, especially petroleum products, across the country,” he said.

The Governor said revamping the railway at Apapa would not only reduce the enormous pressure on Lagos and Nigerian roads as a result of road haulage of cargo but would also create jobs for the scores of people currently idling away around the facility and living under very unhygienic conditions.

On the environmental situation in the area, Governor Fashola, attributed it to what he called “our country’s economic choices” and stressed that if the Federal Government had made the right choice of putting the Yard into good use, the environmental situation in the area would not have been created in the first place.

The Federal Government, some months back, bought several coaches to boost the rail transport system, but some other infrastructures needed to make the service efficient and effective, like the maintenance yard, had been left unattended to.