• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Coronavirus: Lagos-Ibadan rail will get to Ebute-Metta by March end, says NRC boss

Nigeria Railway

Fidet Okhiria, the managing director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has assured the traveling public that work was still ongoing on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line, in spite of the Coronavirus outbreak.

The NRC boss who made this remark at the maiden awards /commissioning of the official secretariat of the Transport Correspondents Association of Nigeria (TCAN) in Lagos, said that track laying would reach Ebute-Metta Junction by March end.

Okhiria who was recognised with the Award of Excellence in Rail Development, said that though the coronavirus had affected virtually every sector, the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), the contractor handling the project, had not stopped work.

“Work on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project is going on and the CCECC are working. Work is ongoing in major stations now. Everything is taking shape. Nigerians should expect that by the end of this month, the tracks are going to get to Ebute-Matta Junction,’’ he said.

He explained that a trial run will be done at Ebute-Matta Junction. “The track has got to Ibadan, what is remaining is for the tracks get to Ebute-Matta Junction and then Apapa,” he added.

The NRC boss said that the corporation was committed to delivering a modernised railway system to Nigerians.

Alhassan Musa, chairman, the board of directors of NRC who received the 2019 Award of Pillar of Railway Development in Nigeria, commended the TCAN for recognising his efforts for rail transport, saying that it would encourage him to do more.

Musa described the award as a form of feedback mechanism for him that it would further help him to put in more efforts towards the modernisation of railway.

On his part, Hyginus Omeje, the Lagos State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) said that only an intermodal transportation system would reduce congestion and carnage on the road.

Omeje, who received the award of 2019 Road Safety Ambassador, decried flagrant disregard of road traffic rules and regulations, which he said had led to avoidable crashes and fatalities.

According to him, most road accidents would have been avoided if the rail system had been working fine as many containers that have causes disaster on the road will have gone by rail or water.

“As we open up the rail transport and modernise it, we should also look at our inland waterways. We need an efficient water transport system.  The massive infrastructural development going on in rail sector is a very positive indicator that sooner than we think, we will really get there.  I can wait to see the Lagos-Ibadan rail project being completed and people using it,” the FRSC boss said.

Omeje, who commended the TCAN for the recognition and media support over years, said that the FRSC was committed to sensitisation and education of the motoring public on the proper use of the highways.

Nigeria’s minister of transportation, who was represented at the event, was given 2019 Doyen of Rail Transport Development Award. Other awardees Musa Mohammed, the Lagos State Chairman, Road Transport Employers Association, Tajudeen Agbede, former Lagos State Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and Jerry Oche, the Lagos railway district manager.