NRC to resume Abuja-Kaduna train May 23

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

The Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMoT), has directed that the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service (AKTS) should resume on May 23.

The Deputy Director, Public Relations of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr Yakub Mahmood, made this known in a statement issued in Lagos on Monday

The Nigerian Railway Corporation on March 29 suspended train operations along the Abuja-Kaduna route indefinitely
Mahmood said that the corporation wished to inform its valued customers that additional security measures were being put in place at both the train stations and the track to ensure the safety of passengers onboard.

He said that such measures were not only for the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service (AKTS) but also for all the passenger train services, especially on the standard gauge railway lines.

“Consequently, the passengers are hereby enjoined to cooperate with the NRC in order to enjoy improved service delivery, safety and comfort.

“This is by patiently complying with additional measures that will surely be introduced for the safety of our passengers, such as requesting for passengers National Identification Numbers (NIN).
“The NIN is part of our internal security check; in addition, presentation of the following must be strictly complied with before boarding the train:

“A valid photo Identification Card (ID), reachable telephone number of Next of Kin (NOK) or close relative and an Online and offline purchase of tickets must contain the passenger’s individual profile or identification data,” he said.

Mahmood said that concerted effort to secure the safe release of the abducted passengers being held hostage by the terrorists was continuing out of the public domain for strategic security reasons.

He said that the government wished to assure the relatives of the abducted citizens still in captivity that the safe rescue of the passengers was a top priority.
The NRC official said that they should not misconstrue the resumption of train services as abandonment or nonchalant attitude of the government towards their plight.

Mayweather visits Amaechi, plans to establish boxing academy

CAPTION:

L – APC Presidential Aspirant and Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, receives American boxing great, Floyd Mayweather AKA Money Man at his Abuja home, Monday.

 

By admin

 

Renowned American boxer and boxing promoter, Floyd Mayweather wants to establish a boxing academy in Africa, especially in Nigeria to build young fighters.
Mayweather, a former WBC Super featherweight champion said this when he visited the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Aspirant and Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi at his Abuja residence early Monday morning.
Mayweather said Amaechi is always concerned about empowering the youths, hence his support is needed to actualize his goal of setting up the boxing academy.
“The ultimate plan is to find the next Mayweather. I want to work with kids, I will come over to meet and talk to make sure we are all on the same page, and slowly start building these fighters. We just want to help. It’s all about giving back, helping the youths and the young generation coming up. I want to build a boxing camp for the kids. Different American trainers will come over and work with them.
“There are so much talents in the sport world over there in the United States, and Africa is dominating in the U.S now. There are so much hidden talents, so much skills, so we want the world to see these skills.
“We don’t want it to be hidden, like I was able to display my skills and talents to the world, here I am today. I want to build an academy just for the children to grow,” Mayweather said.
In response, Amaechi told the boxing great that he believes the Federal Government would support any initiative to harness more talents in the country, which would also create jobs.
 Abuja-Kaduna train to resumes soon – NRC

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

The Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, has announced that it has successfully completed work on the damaged portion of the Abuja-Kaduna rail track following the terrorists’ attack on March 28 which grounded service on the route.

The attack led to the death of nine persons and the abduction of over 140) passeengers including an aged woman, a nursing mother, among others.

In a release made available to newsmen, NRC said track access between the two cities has been achieved even as it failed to provide update on the 141 persons still in the custody of their abductors.

Signed by Niyi Alli on behalf of the corporation’s Managing Director, Fidet Okhiria, the statement read: “The connection of the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service, AKTS line has been achieved.

This implies that the major track components (concrete sleepers and rails) have been completely laid. The south end of the tracks (which was destroyed by the explosion) has been successfully joined with the north end. Track access between Abuja and Kaduna is now restored.

“The technical team continue with other track works including ballasting, temping, fastening of accessories (clips, bolts and nuts) and welding.

“Loco 2502 which was involved in the accident (though not damaged) and trapped at the Rigasa end due to lack of route access has now crossed to the Idu end and taken to the workshop for proper examination and routine maintenance.

“As we have mentioned in our earlier releases, the Abuja – Kaduna Train Service will resume soon with additional security measures put in place

“Passengers will be required to provide their NIN registration for verification prior to purchasing train tickets. This is for improved passenger profiling and safety on-board.

“The corporation is committed to the safety of all our passengers and staff on board the ill-fated Ak9 train service. We will continue to collaborate with security agencies to ensure all persons being held are rescued unhurt and reunited with their families, soonest.

“We continue to pray for the reposed of the souls of those who lost their lives in the unfortunate attack. We also pray that Almighty God continue to grant the families of those who lost loved ones, the fortitude to bear the irreparable lost. We equally pray for the full recovery of those injured in the ill-fated AK9 train service of 28h March, 2022

“In compliance with Mr. President’s directive, we encourage anyone stili looking for a loved one or for update to please contact the following numbers in our situation room:
Mrs. Lola on 08023310145 and Mr. Mahmood on 07038356015

“The NRC continues to express its profound gratitude to the security agencies for the continued support, especially for the security cover availed our officials and staff at the incident site.

“As customary, the corporation will continue to update the general public of latest developments.”

Abuja-Kaduna train attack: Kaduna Govt disburses N18m to families of death victims

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

The Kaduna State Government  has layed up plans to disburse N18 million to families of the nine persons killed by terrorists during the Abuja-Kaduna train attack.

The Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (KADSEMA), Muhammed Mukaddas, in a statement on Wednesday,said the sum of N2 million naira would be given to each family.

According to him,  the sum of N250,000 each will also be given to 22 persons who were severely injured.
He said “369 victims were called and offered opportunities for psychological support, 264 persons accepted the offers and were supported.”

“We secured ambulances and buses for evacuation and moved to the scene. Before arrival, the military had commenced evacuation, we therefore evacuated the dead bodies and a few severely wounded victims and one person that had escaped captivity.”

“We deposited the dead at the 44 NARH and others at St. Gerald’s hospital for treatment. We set up a crisis center which availed families of the victims to call for enquiries and also provide relevant information about their missing relatives,” he said.

Vandals hit Lagos-Ibadan rail track, disrupt movement

By admin

 

 

Train movement on Lagos-Ibadan railway track corridor was temporarily disrupted on Saturday due to the removal of some components by hoodlums.

Passengers on board the train which departed the Obafemi Awolowo Train Station in Ibadan at 8:30am were said to have been forced to stop somewhere before Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti train station at Papalanto area of Ogun State as a result of the incident.

One of the passengers, Dr Feyi’ Leo, a lecturer at the confirmed the temporary disruption of the train movement.

She said that fear gripped her and other passengers, when the train was forced to stop.

Leo said the train coming from Lagos to Ibadan was also forced to stop in the opposite direction.

She added that the two trains continued their journey after the damaged section was fixed.

“The trip was smooth and we had gone past the station at Abeokuta , moving towards Papalanto, when the train stopped and reversed some few meters.

“We were agitated and started asking questions. An announcement was made by the NRC official on board that, their technicians were fixing a fault on the track, and that it would not take long.

“True to their word, we left after 20 minutes of stoppage. But I was afraid while the whole thing lasted because of the materials on my laptop.

“There is no backup, and it would have been a huge loss if anything had happened to my laptop,” she said.

Another passenger, who identified himself as Promise, said, the temporary stoppage caused panic on board the train.

He, however, added that there were armed security agents on board,and technicians, who quickly fixed the damaged track.

Kano-Maradi rail: Amaechi meets German Financing Advisory, visits Mota-Engil rail site in Portugal

By admin

 

Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has met with the financing advisory for the construction of Kano-Maradi rail line, seeking a speed-up of the process to ensure construction begins as soon as possible.

In the meeting held at the Nigerian Embassy, Berlin with representatives of KfW-IPEX bank of Germany who are serving as an advisory in partnership with African Finance Corporation for the Kano-Maradi rail project, Amaechi stated that the ECAs (Export Credit Agencies) are free to come to Nigeria and become part of the process on ground to ensure that everything follows their recommenced practices and avert hiccups in the course of the project.

Following their concerns on resettlement of villages that may be impacted by the construction, Amaechi assured that Nigeria has laws in place for that and that the Ministry of Transportation ensured that the right of way was distant from the villages except in Kano where it is difficult to totally avoid the town.

“For us in the Ministry of Transportation, in choosing the right of way, we avoided communities. If we don’t do that, we’ll clear the entire Kano. Like in Lagos, we avoided communities and used the old line, because if we had to choose a different route we would pay billions. In fact, to even work from the old line, we paid 7 billion naira in compensations, not because the people had the right to the land, but because after 12 years and nothing is done it becomes their land and you just can’t chase them out. We still paid compensation, because the rail line was moribund. To eject them we still had to treat them as though they were the original owners of the land. We didn’t wait for Europe. That’s our law.

“In Kano-Maradi, we also took into consideration the people, we choose the right of way distant from the communities, which makes it even more expensive, because government will have to do access roads from the rail line into the communities. We did that because of environmental issues, but the Europeans want us to assume that there are people living along the route. There are none, apart from Kano.

“I don’t know what the law is in Europe in terms of your ESIA. We’ve taken the first step by giving notice, we have assessed the land. What we have not done is payment, because the payment is tied to the contract. On our part, we are ready. What I want to know is the next step to paying compensation, to know that the project is going on and that we can create employment.

The Managing Director/Global Head, Aviation Mobility and Transport, KfW-IPEX Bank, Dr Carsten Wiebers expressed belief that the Nigerian government will be able to manage the risk with pay back of the loan. He advised that the process of putting in place the consulting firms for the project should be sped-up to facilitate financing, while documentation of the process should be properly done.

“Given the fast timeline of 15months, I would recommend speeding up the process of putting in place the consulting companies and other terms of references are met to facilitate the financing. Of course the first level of requirement is your national regulation and law. You take care of that.

“What we are trying to do is create a bridge between your interests and the demands of the Export Credit Agencies, to guarantee we get an affordable loan for you. There has to be evidence of the working group in the areas where the rail would be (actual site) all the way to Kano to convince the decision makers of the ECAs.

“Personally I’m comfortable with your timeline. You dictate the speed of the construction with Mota-Engil. There needs to be an international representative on the site to avoid hiccups with the ECAs. The problem I think is documentation and communication. The process needs to be properly documented and certified,” Wiebers said.

The Director, Mobility and Transport, KfW-IPEX Bank, Sylvia Sedlacek, assured that a consortium of consultants are already working on the ESIA and would come up with the report soon, while a working group has been formed and is in talks with the Nigerian Ministries of Environment, Transportation and Housing on the Environment and social study of the are.

On his part, Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tuggar explained that the Ministry of Environment in Nigeria started as the Environmental protection agency which also came about through conventions and series of stakeholders meetings, locally and internationally. So they are naturally inclined to abide by the regulations.

Earlier, the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi with a team from the Ministry and officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Portugal toured a major rail project site by Mota-Engil to ascertain their capacity to construct the Kano-Maradi rail within the stated timeframe of 15 months.

The project, ‘Corredor International Sul – Ligação Freixo/Alandroal’ also known as Evora line is a 78km rail project to unite the Port of Sines all the way to Spain. The 20km extension being handled by Mota-Engil has 10 bridges, one of which is a 600m Bridge – the longest in the line, 11 overhead bridges (over passage), 5 underpasses (1 for cars, finished within 2 days of nonstop work, and a total of 800 workers on the project.

The site Engineer, Luis Mota explained that the project of that magnitude is one of the fastest within 19 months.
Amaechi however demanded that the Kano-Maradi project be faster as it is an EPC, “by now you should have finished your backend engineering and design,” he said. Amaechi further called for a meeting in Abuja in the first week of January to identify all the challenges and ensure that the contractor follows the plan.

At the Nigerian Embassy in Lisbon, the Ambassador, Alex Kefas expressed joy that the country is moving forward. According to him, “I have never seen massive railway projects in Nigeria until he (Amaechi) became Minister. We are grateful he is doing very well. We just finished a meeting with the secretary of internalisation which will help in boosting our bilateral relations. At the bilateral meeting, they assured us of their support in achieving this project (Kano-Maradi).

“I recently paid a courtesy call on Mota-Engil at their Headquarters in Porto and they paid a courtesy call to me here at the embassy. I assured them of speedy visa issuance to ensure that the project in Nigeria is completed speedily,” he said.

Both the Minister and the Ambassador were at the Portuguese foreign ministry for bilateral talks and both nations agreed to be of help to one another. The Portugese Secretary of State for Internalisation affairs, Mr. Eurico Brilhante Dias assured the Minister of Portugal’s support and cooperation to ensure that the project by Mota-Engil is completed without hitches.

GoG, Nigerian waters record first piracy drop in 17yrs

By admin

 

 

 

For the first time in 17years, the Gulf of Guinea and the Nigerian waters recorded the lowest piracy drop, in the first nine months of year 2021.

This was disclosed by a report released this week by the International Maritime Bureau , IMB .

However, at the other end of the scale, one crew member was killed, 51 kidnapped and eight taken hostage

The latest piracy report from IMB revealed that 85 vessels were boarded with nine attempted attacks. Also, two vessels were shot at and one hijacked.

A breakdown of piracy incidents showed that the Gulf of Guinea region recorded 28 incidents of and armed robbery between January and September 2021, as against 46 recorded for the same period in 2020.
Notably, Nigeria reported only four, compared to 17 in 2020 and 41 in 2018. Crew kidnappings in the region dropped with a crew member kidnapped in the period under review, as against 31 in five separate incidents during the same quarter in the preceding year.

“All 2021 quarter three incidents were against vessels at port anchorages and the average successful kidnapping location was 100 nautical miles from land.

“The overall reduction of piracy and armed robbery incidents in the region bears testament to enhanced maritime security and response coordination measures adopted by regional and national authorities,” IMB stated

The IMB statement however, made no mention of piracy incidents such as kidnappings, violence against crew or hijackings on the east coast of the continent off Somalia including the Horn of Africa.
But going further east, it noted 20 armed robbery incidents in the Singapore Straits, the highest since last year and four up ,on the 2019 number.

It described the attacks as low level and opportunistic in nature , noting that perpetrators posed a direct threat to seafarers and vessels underway.

Furthermore it stated that in four incidents, crew were threatened, assaulted or injured.
“There was also a noticeable reduction in incidents reported from Indonesian waters. The six reported in the first nine months of this year is the lowest in Indonesian water since 1993”, it stated..

FG budgets N75bn for repairs this yelutude season

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

The Federal Government announced that it will commit N75,765,087,178.28 to carry out rehabilitation works on collapsed portions of roads in Nigeria this yelutide season

The Director, Highway Construction and Rehabilitation, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mr Folorunso Esan, in Abuja at the meeting of stakeholders in the transport sector to plan and prepare for making the roads motorable and ensuring the safety of lives on the country’s highways.

He stated that the rehabilitation is to improve ease of travel for Nigerians during the yuletide seasons.

Mr Esan revealed that “The rainy season has affected many sections of the road across the country, hence the need for urgent palliative works to avoid further deterioration.

“Bad roads have been identified, indicating that the affected roads had been mapped out and contracts for the repairs would be awarded to contractors as part of the preparation for the ember months.

The total cost for the repair works is N75,765,087,178.28.”

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said that the government is doing all it can to move cargo by rail as it is faster and it makes the roads more durable.

“The President Muhammadu Buhari administration is making efforts to ensure that overloaded trucks no longer ply the nation’s highways.

You may not be aware of this, the government is building the Kano, Lagos and the Abeokuta pipeline and we want to see petrol tankers, timber going on railway and we hope this can relieve pressure on the road.

“I want to appeal to road users, NUPENG, NATO, NURTW and FRSC that we have to work together. Our responsibility is to ensure safety of the road users.

“All the data that we have about the road shows us that most of the accidents on the road are as a result of speed violation.

Fashola added that the Ministry will start restrictions with overloading stating that enforcement will commence from the tollgate in Lagos.

“If your vehicle is overloaded, you will pay fines, so the reason we have done that is that we want to make it cheaper to comply and make it very expensive to break the law,” he said.

He stated that the government hopes people will choose to comply instead of paying excessive penalties.

NRC generates N1.08 bn from passengers in Q2’21- NBS

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, generated N1.08 billion revenue from passengers in the second quarter of the year 2021 (Q2’21`).

This represents a 237 percent year-on year (YoY) rise in revenue when compared with N320.3 million generated in Q2’20.

The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, disclosed this today in its Railway Transportation Data Report for Q2’21.

The data also showed that revenue generated from cargo rose YoY by 8.0 percent to N71.6 million in Q2’21 from N66.3 million in Q2’20.

The report stated: “Revenue generated from passengers in Q2’ 21 was put at N1.08 billion as against N892.47 million in Q1’21.

“Similarly, revenue generated from goods/cargo in Q2 2021 was put at N71,555,762 as against N26,195,160 in Q1 2021.

“The rail transportation data for Q2’21 reflected that a total of 565,385 passengers travelled via the rail system in Q2 2021 as against 108,238 passenger recorded in Q2’ 20 and 424,460 in Q1’21 representing 422 percent growth YoY and 33.20 percent QoQ respectively.

“Similarly, a total of 42,782 tons of volume of goods/cargo travelled via the rail system in Q2’21 as against 8,691 recorded in Q2’ 20 and 10,511 in Q1’21 representing 392 per cent growth YoY and 307 per cent QoQ respectively.”

Amaechi inspects proposed site for Bonny Deep Seaport …Construction to commence soon

By admin

 

 

Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has inspected the proposed site for construction of the Bonny Deep Seaport.

Amaechi made the visit, Friday in company of the Permanent Secretary, Dr Magdalene Ajani, the Acting MD, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Koko and experts from the Ministry of Transportation, the NPA and the contractors, CCECC.

During the inspection, the Minister noted that in choosing the site, considerations must be made towards cost reduction and ease in paying compensations.

He said while the South East part of the Island was also viable, the most feasible may be the area to the West in Finima, as it would require less dredging.

“The experts have said it will take only 500 metres of dredging at this point to get to 17metres draught which is our target for the depth of the seaport. The moment you reclaim 500metres into the ocean, you get to 17metres draught. You don’t need further dredging. While on the other end, you need 1.16kms dredging to get to the water. It will be more expensive to dredge 1.16km than to build rail line to this place. We can do the cost analysis and come to a decision.

Amaechi also said selection of the area, when finally decided upon would ensure that NNPC pipes would not be tampered with or moved for the rail lines extending to the Seaport to be laid.

“It would also be easier to pay compensations here and take the rail through this area instead of running it through the other end where there are pipes. And compensation would be paid on properties, not on land. If the land is not enough, the Federal Government would acquire more for the expansion,” Amaechi said.

Speaking to newsmen, the MD, NPA, Mohammed Koko said, “what we did today was to reconfirm the right location for the port, although final studies will be made and conclusions reached. The other location had pipes, so we believe that this one will be perfect. It has a natural draft of about 17metres.

“The Port which will have a capacity of about 500,000 TEUs on completion is a necessary infrastructure for Nigeria. Nigeria has over 823 kilometres of coastline and we have always been saying that the idea of building deep seaports will bring more economic value to the country, and Nigeria will eventually become a maritime hub in Africa or the West African sub-region,” he said.

Koko also stated that construction will kick off within the year and run concurrently with the construction of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line which also extends to the Bonny Deep Seaport.