The Minister of Transportation, Senator Saidu Alkali, has reiterated the present administration’s commitment to enhance the modernization development of the country’s rail transport sector.
He gave the assurance during a farmiliarization tour and inspection of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, facilities in Lagos.
While welcoming the Minister of Transportation, Senator Saidu Alkali, the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, Managing Director, Mr. Fidet Okhiria, noted that the rail transport sector is one of the bed-rock of economic growth and development of any nation through mass movement of freight and people, creating job opportunities, urbanization, business expansion as well as social integration for peaceful coexistence.
Mr. Okhiria identified some challenges in the rail transport sector to include security threats and vandalisation of critical infrastructure.
“In recent times, NRC has been facing some challenges which include; security threats and vandalisation of critical infrastructure, may I appeal to the Minister as a former member of the National Assembly to deploy his vast legislative experience to achieve this mandate of railway modernization projects” he said.
In a remark, the Minister of Transportation, Senator Saidu Alkali, who had earlier paid a visit to the Idu Train Station in Abuja, said the inspection would assess and evaluate the performance of the Railway Corporation for continued implementation of rail projects and services across the country.
He particularly mentioned the delay in removal of the Custom building at Apapa Port which prevented the completion of two standard guage lines, the fixing of single track line to convey containers from Lagos to Kano within the next three months and expansion of operational scope of Kajola Rail Wagon Assembly Plant in Ogun State.
“In order to actualize this reality consistent with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the present administration, the Federal Ministry of Transportation initiates this visit to inspect, appraise and evaluate all the existing rail infrastructure and ongoing projects with particular reference to Lagoa-Ibadan and Kano-Maradi Railway modernization projects.
As part of efforts to sustain the development, the Minister said the transport Ministry would take advantage of the huge number of bilateral and multilateral agreements between Nigeria and other countries on trade to commence transfer of technology and construction engineering services to facilitate development of the rail transport sector.
The Transport Minister was accompanied on the inspection by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, Mr. Fidet Okhiria and Directors from both the Ministry and the Corporation.