…..unfolds infrastructure expansion plan
Travelling by rail as an alternative to using the road is becoming a cause for concern among Nigerians with recorded cases of track vandalisatiin becoming a recurring decimal. Such ugly incidents are not common on the narrow gauges, but has extended to the newly constructed Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge
Fidet Okhiria, managing Ddrector of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), had at a media conference described the continous removal of some sections of both the narrow and standard tracks as unpatriotic and a criminal that must be condemned by all.
The NRC managing director disclosed the as part of measures to the reduce the ugly trend, the management of the corporation will from time to time deploy the rail cars to identify and fix portions affected by such criminal activities.
Meanwhile, work on the reconstruction of Port Harcourt to Kano railway is expected to start before the end of February 2022, even as funds are being sourced for the standard gauge rail line from Port Harcourt to Maidugri, and same thing from Calabar to Lagos as part of the rail expansion plans.
NRC is also meeting with contractor, CRCC International, on the Public-Private sectors Partnership (PPP) arrangements on the project between Itakpe to Abuja. “We’re meeting with them so that we can see how soon we can mobilize to site,” Okhiria said.
He pointed out that the reconstruction of the narrow gauge will go to Owerri from where it will be extended to Abakiliki from Enugu. “The narrow gauge will also link the Warri deep sea and link the rail train complex in Port Harcourt,” the NRC leader highlighted.
According to him, from the North-East, the project will proceed to Damaturu where the standard gauge will link to respective places.
He expressed confidence that having enough of rolling stocks, spare parts, tools is the right way to go in solving the operational problems of the railway industry in Nigeria – the problem of lack of continuity inclusive.
Okhiria assured that there is a plan of having spare parts available so that the system will not collapse.
He said that the corporation is mechanizing the system so that the tracks are lifted as when .
He said that Calabar-Lagos work is taking off from Calabar, Uyo, Bayelsa, Warri to Benin. “And from Benin we come back to Agbor, Agbor to Asaba and Asaba to Onitsha, Onitsha to Enugu to Abakiliki, then from Benin straight to Lagos,” Okhiria specified.
He stated that somewhere from Ore, work will proceed to Ondo, adding that Ibadan to Kano will also branch to Osogbo and to Ekiti. “So that is the plan on ground, and we are hoping Kano-Kaduna will be linked before the end of this year,” the railway chief declared.He said that the loan or the counterpart funding has not been received.
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