The Federal Government has revealed that the completion of the Kano-Kaduna rail project is a priority, due to the immense socio-economic impact it will have not only on the communities along the rail corridor but the country as a whole.
The Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Sambo stated this during a recent inspection tour of the ongoing rail project.
The minister, accompanied on the inspection by the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMT), Dr. Magdalene Ajani; Board chairman, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Alhassan Ibrahim; Managing director, NRC, Engr. Fidet Okhiria; Director, rail transport services, FMT, Engr. Jimoh Yusuf and others.
“We know that most of the agricultural products in Nigeria are produced in the northern part of the country and taken to the south while goods that are imported into the country, through the seaports, have to come through the south. So, it is an understatement to say that this project is critical to the well-being of Nigerians.
“We intend to give all our energy and all. We have to make sure that the project is a success,” Sambo explained.
“For insecurity which has been a major drawback and largely responsible for the contractor – Messrs. China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) – delivery of just 12 per cent after 11 months.
“For securing the lives of workers, I intend to engage the armed forces and the police to design a template for security, not only along this corridor but it will serve as a template for all other corridors that we are going to be doing whether it be existing contracts along different sections or for new ones that will come up later.”
The minister also spoke on encroachment on lands for which the ministry has already paid compensation and acquired, assuring that a high-level meeting with the Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje should address such issues.
Sambo later inspected the ongoing University of Transportation project in Daura, where he said the proposed December 2023 completion date was unacceptable and urged CCECC to hasten on the earlier agreed delivery date.
“I am impressed with the work. This entire project is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) on the part of CCECC; therefore, it is highly commendable. The project only started last year and you can see how fast it is going, with almost 60 per cent completed. They intended to commence academic sessions in September this year but due to circumstances beyond their control, it is not possible but I can see evidence of real commitment.
“The ministry has done enough to get them motivated to achieve the desired result. I am impressed.
“I have asked the consultant to sit down with the contractor and revise the completion schedule and revert to the ministry in a week. I have urged them to complete phase one, at least by December so that we can think about the academic session taking place,” Sambo stated.
We are going to have interim management that will run the university pending when we get all the approvals from the Federal Ministry of Education.
“All tertiary institutions in the country are run by the National University Commission which is under the Federal Ministry of Education. So, when they are done, it will be run entirely by Nigerians.
“Initially, the Chinese will run it with Nigerians. Remember, some Nigerians are in China undergoing study under their scholarship as continuous CSR. Nigeria will take over the management of the school.”