The Federal Government has rolled out a comprehensive programme to rehabilitate existing railways across the federation.
Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar made the revelation Thursday at the opening ceremony of the National Council of Transport meeting in Lagos. The minister explained that consequent upon the completion of rehabilitation work on the Lagos-Kano narrow gauge, passenger/cargo operations commenced in December 2012, while container movement from Apapa Port complex to Kaduna and Kano commenced in August.
“Works are also ongoing to complete rehabilitation of the Eastern Narrow Gauge Line, Port Harcourt- Aba- Umuahia- Enugu- Markurdi- Lafia- Kuru- Bauchi-Gombe-Ashaka- Maiduguri with branch lines at Kuru to Jos, Kafachan and Kaduna”, he said adding that trains are expected to be back on tracks in aforementioned corridors by 2014.
Under the railway modernisation programme, he said the construction of Standard Gauge from Abuja(Idu)- Kaduna has attained 68 percent completion, while the Itakpe- Ajaokuta-Warri Line has attained 77 percent completion.
“Both Lines are expected to be completed and commissioned by next year 2014”, the minister said, stressing that contract for Lagos –Ibadan double track Standard Gauge Line has been awarded.
He explained that as soon as funding arrangements are concluded with China Exim Bank, the construction of the lines will commence.
Idris said the ministry has also commissioned consultants to carry out feasibility studies for seven new standard gauge railways: The Lagos- Ibadan- Oshogbo-Baro –Abuja high speed; Lagos- Shagamu-Ijebu Ode-Ore-Benin City; Benin-Agbor-Asaba – Onitsha-Nnewi-Owerri-Aba with additional line from Onitsha-Enugu-Abakaliki; The coastal railways line Benin City- Sapele-Warri-Yenagoa-Port Harcourt-Aba- Uyo-Calabar with branch line from Akampa-Ikom- Obudu Cattle Ranch; Ajaokuta(Eganyi)- Obajana- Jankura- Baro-Abuja with additional line from Ajaokuta-Otukpo; Eganyi(near Ajaokuta)- Lokoja-Abaji- Abuja, which he said have reached advance stages and Zaria – Funtua-Tsafe-Gusau-Kaura Namoda- Sokoto – Illela-Birnin Koni in Niger Republic he said.
Speaking at the event, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola explained that one year after implantation of the amended road traffic law, accidents from motorcycles has dropped from 646 accidents a month to 112 accidents a month.
“Deaths from motorcycles accidents dropped from 15 a month to 1 a month, adding that no deaths were recorded in August, September and October this year.