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What next after the world class Lagos-Ibadan rail project

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What next after the world class Lagos-Ibadan rail project

Nigerians may wonder what is next after the construction and inauguration of the world class Lagos-Ibadan Standard Guage rail line by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The project which was constructed on paper, has become a reality on ground for the whole world to behold from June 10, 2021.

The project was borne out of the driving force, determination, commitment of the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who saw the need for an alternative mode of transportation in the country.

He saw the need for a safer, cheaper rail for freight purposes, and thus reducing the use of trucks on the road with its attendance reduction of lifespan of the roads.

This project also came to limelight because of the significant commitment and dedication by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Transportation.

The Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge rail line was completed after 41 site inspections with minimum of 520 hours of tour for 4 years, including series of technical meetings.

It would be recalled that the 157km Lagos-Ibadan rail project was awarded in 2017 to the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC ) at the sum of 1.6billion dollars with a three years completion agreement; it is the first phase of the Lagos-Kano standard gauge project.

Also read: Lagos/Ibadan standard gauge railway: NRC recorded 33,140 passengers in July – Official

The project has a massive civil work composition comprising 81 extra-large, medium and small size bridges; 207 culverts and 708 32-meter beams.

The terms of completion couldn’t be met due to numerous challenges at the Lagos axis ranging from bridges located on the right of way, underground pipes which needed to be removed and rechanneled.

As at May 8, two bridges were marked for demolition; the Jibowu and Costain bridges which was rebuilt immediately and the Army Barracks on the track route was also relocated

Other challenges were within the cities of Lagos, Abeokuta and Ibadan where compensation were paid to remove water pipes, gas pipes, houses and electric cables.

With the help of Lagos State Water Corporation, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, among others those challenges were resolved before the laying of tracks was completed in 2018.

As at May 8, 2018, 60 per cent of the work was done with workers laying about 1.2 killometers tracks per day so as to meet up with the 3 years targets.

The line was extended to link Apapa port from the Mobolaji Johnson Station, Ebute-Metta Station, and extends southward to Apapa port, with a total length of 6.5km which was completed on January 25, 2020 to improve freight businesses on the route.

The project pace slowed down in 2020 due to the rapid spread of Covid-19. In spite of that, the minister ensured that workers remained on site to continue the project. Then in January 2021 over 60 construction staff were infected with the virus which stalled the initial date of inauguration.

“The plan was to open the rail project in the first week of January, unfortunately the contractor had to stop work due to upsurge in the number of workers who had been infected with the virus. The project will be opened when the infection rate has greatly reduced.

“As far as we are concerned, we need to learn how to live with COVID. I really congratulate those that achieved that feat, we were to inaugurate first week in January. We had to stop those doing minor completion work because of the rise in COVID-19 transmission. But you can see the kind of sacrifice everybody is making to get the rail to function,” Amaechi said.

In the same Jan. 2021, the fare for Lagos-Ibadan train services was announced as N3,000 per economy seat, N5,000 for business class and N6,000 for first class while the route was inaugurated in June.

However, President Muhammadu Buhari, during the inauguration, said that rail transportation is a potent driver of the economy and has led his administration to accord it the priority it deserves.

“The commencement of construction activities on the Kano – Kaduna Segment of the Lagos – Kano Railway Modernization project at the proposed site of the Kano Railway Station, Kano which is also adjacent to the Dala Inland Dry Port.

“The take-off of construction activities on this segment of the Lagos – Kano vividly represents the commitment of this administration in the revival of Nigerian Railway system, to reduce the deficiency in our transportation infrastructure and drive effective and more efficient transportation of passengers and freight within the country.

“The ground breaking ceremony for Kano – Kaduna segment of the Lagos – Kano railway modernisation project signifies an important milestone of the construction of the third segment, having completed and commenced commercial operation on the first segment Abuja – Kaduna and recently the second segment Lagos – Ibadan.

“This project is crucial to the establishment of a supply chain in railway transport within its corridor, Kano – Kaduna – Abuja, as it links the major commercial cities of Kano and Kaduna to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

“Upon completion, Kaduna – Kano railway project is to link the Lagos – Ibadan Railway project via Abuja, Minna, Ilorin, Oshogbo, Ibadan to Lagos on one end, and Maradi in Niger Republic on the other.”

Also speaking on the next phase, Amaechi informed that Ibadan-Kano which is the remaining segment would transverse Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Niger, Abuja, Kaduna and Kano and has been divided into three segments: Kaduna-Kano, Ibadan-Minna and Minna-Abuja.

He said the project would allow the citizenry to transverse with ease, between Abuja and Kano via Kaduna.

He added that it would eventually link Kano-Maradi as well as link the seaports in Lagos to Maradi, providing access to the landlocked Niger Republic.

The next phase of the project is the Kano-Kaduna rail is 1.2billion dollars, which Amaechi said would be funded from the budget.

He pointed out that it would improve the standard of living, employment and trade, stating that in the long run it would decongest Lagos ports and increase the viability of inland ports of Ibadan, Kaduna and Kano.

” Succinctly speaking, having delivered Abuja – Kaduna and Lagos – Ibadan Railway Project the remaining stretch of Ibadan – Kano which traverses Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Niger, Abuja, Kaduna and Kano has been, segmented as follows:

“Kaduna – Kano segment, Ibadan – Minna Segment, Minna – Abuja Segment

” The scope of the railway project involves a 203km double track standard gauge railway from Kano to Kaduna.

“The railway along this route traverses the major cities of Kaduna, Zaria and Kano with three railway stations both for passenger and freight services at Rigachukun, Zaria and Kano with varying capacities and categories.

“This project will link the Federal Capital, Abuja with the Commercial city of Kano and also link the ongoing Kano – Maradi project. The outstanding addendum, Ibadan – Abuja, will link the Sea Ports in Lagos to Maradi, Niger Republic.

“This I believe will greatly boost trade between the two countries and foster economic development. This railway line, will present an opportunity for Nigerians to traverse between Abuja and Kano via Kaduna with relative ease.

“The project will no doubt improve the standard of living of citizens within its corridor, create employment and promote trade.

“In the long term the railway will help decongest the Lagos Port Complex and increase its efficiency as well as further increase the viability of the Inland Dry Ports located in Ibadan, Kaduna and Kano.

 

 

Health and Safety

MMA Customs Intercepts N5.7b Ammunition, Tramadol, Others

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The Murtala Muhammed Airport command of the Nigeria Customs Service has, in its anti-smuggling drive intercepted offensive items with duty paid value of N5.794 billion.

The seized items include fifty pieces of 9mm live ammunition which was discovered in a joint examination conducted by the service and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Muhammed Sani Yusuf disclosed this at a press conference in his office on Monday.

According to him, other first-quarter seizures in the command are 1,164kg of sea cucumbers, 58kg of donkey genitals and 17 packages of Tramadol.

He noted that all the seized items contravened some of the provisions of the extant laws as enshrined in the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023. 

Three persons, he said, were arrested in connection with the seizures.

The command also achieved an increase of 111.7 per cent in its revenue collection in the first quarter of 2024 when compared to the revenue generated during the same period in 2023.

Comptroller Yusuf stressed that despite certain challenges, the command collected N45,232,483,528.00 between January and March this year against N21,362,752,676.44 generated in the corresponding period of last year.

The controller stated that this year’s first quarter collection is N 23,869,730,851.56k higher than 2023 first quarter collection which is a 111.7 per cent increase.

On stakeholder engagement, the controller noted that the command has maintained its open-door policy and resolved a lot of issues of common interest with concerned stakeholders.

Yusuf thanked critical stakeholders, sister agencies and the media for their collaborative efforts and synergy while carrying out the command’s statutory mandate in the state.

He also expressed his appreciation to the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR and his management team for their continued support as well as officers and men of the command.

The controller enjoined his men to remain focused and steadfast in discharging their assigned responsibilities.

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Maritime

RAMADAN IFTAR: Customs CG Hosts Bigwigs, Calls for National Unity

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RAMADAN IFTAR: Customs CG Hosts Bigwigs, Calls for National Unity

…In-Line with Ramadan Teachings

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, on Tuesday, 2 April 2024, urged Nigerians to embrace the teachings of Ramadan, reiterating that only through eschewing bitterness, accommodating one another, and living with one another in peace and harmony can people achieve a prosperous country.

CGC Adeniyi made this revelation during the breaking of the 23rd Ramadan fast with the Chairman of the Trade Modernization Project, Saleh Ahmadu, and other distinguished personalities at the Nigeria Customs Management Estate in Abuja.

He said, “As a responsible organisation, the Nigeria Customs Service will continue to uphold the spirit of Ramadan.”

“It is not by coincidence that just a few hours ago, we as a nation, celebrated Easter – and we are approaching the end of Ramadan, another remarkable Eid. What these events tend to show us is that in this country, what unites us is far more than what divides us,” he added.

The CGC, who recounts the message of Islamic teachings about the synergy of diligence and devotion to showing love among one another during Ramadan, harps on the significance of devoting oneself to intensive prayers, giving charity and alms to the poor, and serving mankind, among other things.

“These are the basic teachings of Ramadan, and they are also the same in all religions that we know. Because I do know that there is no religion that does not emphasise bringing people together and helping the needy or giving charity,” the Comptroller-General of Customs said.

Speaking further, CGC Adeniyi also used the avenue to call on Nigerians to embrace the teachings of Ramadan in their daily activities. “We have a big social problem in Nigeria where many people are going hungry every day; so many people are fasting but don’t even know where they will break their fast due to food insecurity in the country.”

According to him, addressing the challenge of food security is a collective responsibility for all, adding, “The president is leading the charge through his various programs and policies to curb food insecurity in Nigeria.”

He also stressed the Nigeria Customs Service’s commitment to extending a generous hand to Nigerians in this trying time by implementing measures that will make food abundant to Nigerians. “I therefore enjoin all of us to eschew bitterness and accommodate one another in peace and harmony,” he added.

On his part, the representative of the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Economy, Wale Edun, Director of Finance at the Ministry of Home Finance, Aliyu Muhammad, appreciated the Comptroller-General for organising the Iftar – which, according to him, signifies the unity and diversity of Nigeria.

He re-echoed the commitment of the Finance Minister to continue partnering with the Nigeria Customs Service to implement policies that will boost the economic stability of Nigeria further.

Among the prominent figures who attended the Iftar ceremony were the representatives of the Honourable Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, DCM Kazeem,  Professor Tunji Ola, Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Mr Bamanga Usman, Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Authority, and members of the Trade Modernization Project team led by Chairman Saleh Ahmadu.

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Q1 2024: Apapa Customs Collects N489bn As Revenue, Exceeds 2023 Figure By Over 100%

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Q1 2024: Apapa Customs Collects N489bn As Revenue, Exceeds 2023 Figure By Over 100%

…Comptroller Jaiyeoba commends stakeholders for cooperation

The Apapa Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has collected N489,614,095,022.15 as total revenue for the first quarter of 2024 , which is over a 100 per cent higher than the  N212.5billion collected same period of 2023

Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the command, Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba, commended the officers and port stakeholders for their cooperation towards the attainment of the laudable feat and called for sustained compliance by government and private sector stakeholders. 

The Controller reminded them that the Apapa Command of the NCS is playing a critical role towards the realisation of the N5.7tr annual target of the NCS in 2024 and as such all hands should be on deck to achieve it. 

According to him, the almost N2 trillion target the command is expected to collect in 2024 is attainable through diligently abiding by the service books of instructions like the Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCSA) 2023, government import/export prohibition lists, Common External Tariff and Federal Government approved Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

While thanking the officers for their punctulity, diligence, and non compromise in the discharge of their responsibilities, Jaiyeoba reminded them of the CGC Bashir Adewale Adeniyi and Customs Management confidence vested in them. 

The CAC reminded them that the present customs management has created room for multiple benefits for those who operate in compliance with the rules. He stated that the recently launched AEO is one of such benefits. 

He described the command’s first quarter collection as a bold step towards the realisation of the target and reminded all port users about the importance of compliance, which, according to him, comes with multiple benefits. 

Jaiyeoba said, “I want to urge all stakeholders in Apapa Port to keep supporting us in achieving an efficient system where everyone plays by the rules to achieve smoother, seamless, and faster import/export cargo clearance.”

“Making honest declaration puts the declarant at a vantage position to have a credible reputation and enjoy the benefits that come with earned integrity such as fast track and possible migration to the authorised economic operator(AEO).”

” Such attitude of compliance saves time and money as examination officers would find the cargo less cumbersome to process and other units of the service including sister government organisations would not need to flag such cargo for seizure or arrest of the importers/exporters. The cargo gets cleared on time, and payments for penalties after demand notices are not necessary as no DN is issued on compliant import/export.”

” I will continue my weekly engagement of stakeholders at various levels to sustain the tempo of our achievements and consolidate on the gains from regular enlightenment of every member of the port community.” 

“As we step into the second quarter to end the first half of 2024, I am convinced we will do better in revenue collection, facilitate more trade through our port and prevent smuggling under any guise” the CAC said.

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