Senator Idris Umar, Transport Minister
Not less than 561, 883 metric tonnes of cargoes have been conveyed by rail from 2011 till date, the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, has disclosed.
A weekly movement of 1,500 tonnes, which is equivalent to 50 trailer load of cement for Lafarge Cement Plc, was also carried by rail from Ewekoro to Ibadan, Oshogbo, Ilorin, Minna, and Kano within the period under review.
There was also a weekly haulage of petroleum products by rail from Lagos to Kano, just as laterite was conveyed from Otukpo to Makurdi covering 100,000 tonnes. The laterite, which was meant for one of Nigeria’s foremost construction firms, SCC Nigeria Limited, is equivalent to 3,333 trailer loads.
Umar, who revealed this at the 2013 ministerial platform, Radio House, Abuja, said Nigerians have continued to benefit from the Federal Government implementation of what he called the “railway strategic vision”.
He stated that beyond the cargo benefits, there are also passengers’ benefits as more Nigerians are now using the rails to move from one place to another within the period under review.
His words: “In its determination to revive and modernise the railway system in line with the 25 years strategic vision, a systemic dual approach is adopted by the federal government entailing the rehabilitation of the entire existing narrow gauge lines simultaneously with the development of standard gauge lines”.
He revealed that the rehabilitation of the mainline from Ebuta Metta Junction to Apapa local station by the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has been completed while the sidings are in the process of being rehabilitated.
According to him, rehabilitation of the sidings and loop lines were meant to enhance efficiency along the Western line as well as the rehabilitation of the 300 kilometres link between the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa and the national line plus the spur line to Kaduna Power Plant Complex are being worked out upon addendum to NRC contract one and two.
Modernisation of signalling and telecommunication system to automatic train warrant from Lagos to Kano as an addendum to the on-going signalling and telecommunication contract is on. The ministerial tenders’ board has approved the processing of the procurement records to the Bureau for Public Procurement for a review and issuance of due process certificate of no certificate.
He disclosed that Akere Bridge, Niger State, which hitherto constituted a huge constraint in the Western line, has been rehabilitated. He added that these were parts of the track rehabilitation work carried out by the federal government within the period under review.