… As Sanwo-Olu assures of rail lines’ completion in 2022***
The Lagos State Government says it is partnering with the Maize Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (MAAN) to explore possibilities of commercial production of maize in the state.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya made this known in a statement on Sunday in Lagos.
Olusanya said this after receiving members of the association.
The commissioner said the meeting with MAAN was in view of the opportunities available for the sourcing of silage from the partnership.
She noted that silage was `a very cheap and affordable source of feed for livestock in the state, particularly for cows.
Silage is referred to as grass or other green fodder compacted and stored in airtight conditions like in a silo, without first being dried, and used as animal feed.
She said that the need for collaboration with the association came after her visit to the Igbodu Feedlot in Epe.
According to Olusanya, MAAN had planted about 167,000 hectares of maize across Nigeria with an average crop output of five metric tonnes per hectare in 2021 farming season.
“There is a potential for about 835,000 metric tonnes of silage which could be available for the feedlots in the state.
“We are meeting with representatives of MAAN to explore possible collaborations with the association to help the state grow its own maize.
“This partnership will serve as a major source of production of cattle feed.
“I am particularly delighted about this initiative because it is in line with the State’s five-Year Agricultural Roadmap, particularly the reform of the red meat value chain.
“As you are aware, the state in partnership with interested investors is establishing feedlots and fattening centres.
“This will help with the traceability and hygiene of the cattle before they are slaughtered for consumption,” she said.
Olusanya also said that the meeting was a follow-up on the visit to the Igbodu Feedlot, Epe, and to explore the opportunities available for the sourcing of silage from the association.
In the meantime, Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state, says the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) project would be completed by the last quarter of 2022.
Sanwo-Olu gave the assurance on Saturday while on an assessment tour of the construction of both Blue and Red Lines.
The inspection came five months after the governor had performed the ground breaking ceremony to kick start the construction of the 37-km-long Red Line, which starts from Agbado and terminates at Oyingbo.
The Blue Line project, which started in 2010, is currently at over 80 per cent completion.
The governor said that the take-off of the Red Line project represented a major breakthrough for his administration in its drive to deliver an integrated transportation model that would ease road congestion in the state.
”We are excited about the ongoing rail projects being undertaken by the Lagos state government and there is a huge number of jobs being provided to Nigerians, engaged by the contractor at all stages of the construction work.
”There is over a thousand personnel working at the Marina Terminal alone. We are happy with the extent of work on both projects.
”What we have seen at the Ikeja Station, which is the second biggest station after the one being built at Marina, gives us so much hope that the projects are on course.
”Based on the physical assessment, we believe that the timelines set for the completion of major engineering work are on track. We are also believing that our contractor is working on schedule.
”Although there are a few hiccups, we believe we will be able to address and surmount them. By the last quarter of 2022, we hope that trains would move on both corridors. And by 2023, we expect to see the full operation of both Blue and Red Lines,” the governor said.
Sanwo-Olu said that henceforth, there would be quarterly assessments and monitoring of the two projects, to avoid the pitfalls that stalled the progress of the Blue Line prior to his administration.
He noted that there were six overpasses being constructed at strategic level crossings along the Red Line corridor to eliminate interactions between the rail tracks, vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
The newsmen report that Sanwo-Olu also stopped at the Yaba Terminal of the Red Line, to assess the work done, before moving to the Oyingbo Terminus, where construction was at the third level towards completion.
The governor said that there would be a stabling extension from Oyingbo to Iddo, to be used as a parking lot for the train.
According to him, the Marina Terminus of the Blue Line will be an elevated station, a transportation hub that will offer intermodal transportation services.
”At the Marina Station, not only are we building rail tracks, underneath we will have a bus station as well, for the BRT and First-and-Last Mile buses.
“There will also be a ferry service at the Marina Station for those who want to travel on the waterways,” he said.
The governor commended the Chinese contractor for the speed of the construction, while noting the need for knowledge and skills transfer, in order to retain the engineering skills brought into the projects by the contractor.
Sanwo-Olu, therefore, directed the engagement of engineering students at the Lagos State University (LASU), University of Lagos (UNILAG) and Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) through an internship programme.
He said the directive would enable the students to have practical knowledge of rail construction.
The rail projects are being undertaken by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), an agency under the state Ministry of Transportation.
The governor was accompanied on the assessment tour by his Deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladehinde, and other members of the state’s cabinet.