By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA Lagos
Federal Ministry of Transportation has said that it plans to complete the first phase of the railway modernization project in the 25-year Strategic Vision to revitalize Nigeria’s railway transport subsector.
According to Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who made the announcement, construction of the remaining part will begin soon.
“I am pleased to inform you that the ministry is finalizing plans to commence construction of the remaining addendum: Ibadan-Abuja to complete the entire stretch of the Lagos-Kano Railway Modernization Project, the first of the modernization project in the 25-year Strategic Vision plan of the Federal Government to revitalize our hitherto moribund railway transport subsector,” Amaechi said.
He stated this at the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Kano-Kaduna Railway Project, which was performed at the proposed Kano Mega Railway station at Zawaciki Kano and presided over by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Kano-Kaduna railway project, he clarified, is a part of the third and outstanding segment of the Lagos-Kano railway modernization project.
“The first segment, Abuja-Kaduna Railway line, was flagged-off for commercial operation in July, 2016 and just recently, the second segment, Lagos-Ibadan railway line was commissioned for commercial operation precisely on June 10 2021,” the transportation minister stated.
He stressed that having delivered Abuja-Kaduna and Lagos-Ibadan Railway Project the remaining stretch of Ibadan-Kano which traverses Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Niger, Abuja, Kaduna and Kano has been segmented.
He listed the segmentation as follows: Kaduna-Kano segment, Ibadan-Minna segment, and Minna-Abuja segment.
Amaechi disclosed that the scope of the railway project involves a 203km double track standard gauge railway from Kano to Kaduna.
He explained that the railway along this route traverses the major cities of Kaduna, Zaria and Kano with three (3) railway stations both for passenger and freight services at Rigachukun, Zaria and Kano with varying capacities and categories.
He declared: “This project will link the Federal Capital, Abuja with the Commercial city of Kano and also link the ongoing Kano-Maradi project. The outstanding addendum, Ibadan-Abuja, will link the Sea Ports in Lagos to Maradi, Niger Republic. This I believe will greatly boost trade between the two countries and foster economic development. This railway line, will present an opportunity for Nigerians to traverse between Abuja and Kano via Kaduna with relative ease.”
He pointed out that the project will improve the standard of living of citizens within its corridor, create employment and promote trade, and emphasized that In the long term the railway will help decongest the Lagos Port Complex and increase its efficiency as well as further increase the viability of the Inland Dry Ports located in Ibadan, Kaduna and Kano.
The transportation minister said that the rail line is also provided with accessories and special installations including power and water supply schemes, Signalling System and Communication in GSM-R, Freight yards, rolling stock depots and maintenance workshops.
He thanked the project’s contractor, Messrs. China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) Nigeria Limited, for their professionalism and astuteness in the construction of the railway infrastructure, and Messrs TEAM Nigeria Limited for their supervisory role during the course of construction, and all the partners in the project.