Five Million Commuters Used Rail Transport, Says Minister

Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, has said that an estimated five million commuters from across the country have used rail transport system between last year till date.

The minister, who made the disclosure on Thursday 16th, October, 2014 in Abuja during the Ministerial Press Briefing, attributed the high level of patronage to increased stabilisation of the tracks following rehabilitation of western line.

Umar, who however did not disclosure any contract sums for procurements made or contracts awarded by the ministry this year, also pointed out that more coaches and wagons were procured by the Federal Government to cushion the growing demands for rail transportation sub-sector.

He said:” The number of passengers conveyed by rail increased from 4, 155, 988 in 2012 to 4,328,789 in 2013 with a projection of over 5,000,000 passengers in 2014.

This was as a result of increased stabilisation of the tracks after completion of rehabilitation of the western line. The targets set for delivery of freight and passenger services were substantially met. More coaches and wagons are required to meet the high demands for the services.

While promising that the Federal Government will complete work on the ongoing Abuja- Kaduna inter- state railway project, in conjunction with the Chinese company, CCECC, the minister said the project covering 187. 5km is 85 per cent completed, saying it would be delivered by end of the year.

On the feasibility studies awarded for survey work and other sample exercise, the minister said that five different studies awarded at undisclosed sums have been completed, while six others, which were either recently awarded or previously signed, are currently ongoing.

Routes with completed Feasibility studies, he said, include the Lagos- Abuja high- speed line (615km), Ajaokuta- Obajana -Jakura- Boro- Abuja with additional line from Otukpe, to also include Anyinga-Ejule- Ida-Adoru-Nsuuksa- Adani- Omor-Anaku- Aguleri- Nsugbe- Onitsha rail line covering a total 821km.

Others are the Zaria- Kaura Namoda –Nnewi- Owerri-Illela- Birni Konni (Niger Republic), covering 520km, followed by Benin- Agbor- Onitsha- Nnewi- Owerri- Aba with additional line from Onitsha- Enugu- Abakaliki, covering 500km. Also, the Eganyi- Lokoja- Abaji- Abuja lines, covering 280km, have their feasibility studies completed.

But the Kano- Bichi-Katsina-jibiya route covering 35.4km, Sokoto-Birni Kebbi–Jega-Yaur-Makera covering 408km, Aba- Umuahia Calabar covering 340km, Port Harcourt- Aba- UMuahia- Enugu- Makudi- Lafia- Kuru-Bauchi- Gombe- Biu, Maiduguri, most of which were stalled by problem of insurgency in the North- East, are among routes with ongoing feasibility studies.

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