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Buhari to commission Lagos-Ibadan railway January 2021, starts operation November 2020

Amaechi disclosed that the Lagos-Ibadan railway will be commissioned in January 2021 by President Buhari.

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Nigeria concludes plan with Russia to modernize railway infrastructure, FG announces Ibadan–Kano Rail Project would begin First Quarter 2020 

The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has announced that President Muhammadu Buhari will commission the Lagos-Ibadan railway in January 2021 to improve movement for cargoes and passengers in the country.

Amaechi made the disclosure during an oversight visit from Lagos to Ibadan to inspect the ongoing construction of the standard gauge in Ibadan on Saturday.

READ: Banks to hold shipowners accountable for $200m CVFF disbursement 

The Minister said that the contractors had done their best with the project while attributing weather conditions as one of the challenges being faced by the contractors.

Amaechi said, “We have cooperation from the various communities along with the standard gauge construction. The contractors have done what they could do but the problem is a change in weather. They couldn’t work beyond that period, besides that, I think the contractors have done well.’’

READ: Lagos-Ibadan Railway: NRC acquires 24 coaches for operations starting next month

“The construction is coming to an end, they are trying to beat the target they gave the ministry of transportation because there is a huge improvement. Is there any facility in Nigeria that is better than the one in Ebute-Meta?” he asked.

The Minister tasked the contractors on the Lagos-Ibadan railway line to ensure completion of all the stations by December including the Apapa station which started late, so it can be commissioned and the route made fully operational. He said the contractors have also given us a timeline.

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READ: Transport Minister sets April 2020 deadline for Lagos-Ibadan railway project 

Amaechi said that the transition period between now and January would enable the Federal Government to acquire the Right of Way for the Lagos-Ibadan route.

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He urged people trading along the rail line to please move far away from the tracks as it is unsafe to peddle around the tracks, and emphasized that it could be difficult to embark on perimeter fencing, adding that the fence constructed in Warri had been pulled down by hoodlums.

The Chairman, Board of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Alhaji Ibrahim Musa, said in the course of the project, the NRC management sat with Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) and agreed on areas where overhead crossing and bridges would be constructed.

READ: FG announces Ibadan–Kano Rail Project would begin First Quarter 2020 

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Musa said, “We agreed that some bridges and overhead crossing will be constructed by the Federal Government, while others will be done by state governments. For instance, we constructed new two-line bridges at Costain and brought down the old ones to enable us to have access.’’

“As we are coming, you can see that passengers’ movement is under the track, while in some places we could see overhead bridges from Lagos to Ibadan in consideration of human and goods trafficking along the corridors,” he said.

READ: N50 billion bond meant for road constructions – Ondo Governor

Musa said that the standard gauge between Lagos and Ibadan was the first moving train compared to the narrow gauge that the country had in the past.

He said that although people were still asking for more access to the corridor; however, they would be considered based on merit and the finances available on the ground.

READ: OPay management denies payment issue as ORide riders protest against NURTW

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The Director of Railway, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Babakobi Muhammed, said the ministry officials held meetings with the Transportation ministries of Lagos, Ogun, and Oyo states to ensure safe corridor for the train.

The Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okhiria said that the corporation would start the Lagos-Ibadan train transportation in November to reduce road traffic during the festive period.

Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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JAMB bans use of email by candidates for UTME, DE registration

JAMB has announced that candidates for the UTME and Direct Entry will no longer be required to provide their email addresses at the point of registration.

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The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has announced that candidates for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and Direct Entry will no longer be required to provide their email addresses at the point of registration.

The new adjustment is to protect candidates from various forms of manipulation and distortion of their personal details by some fraudulent cyber café operators.

The Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, who made the disclosure while addressing newsmen at the board’s headquarters on Wednesday in Bwari, Abuja, said the change, would take effect from Thursday, April 15, 2021.

What the JAMB Registrar is saying

Oloyede said, “They gain access to profiles of these candidates under the pretense of creating an email address for them. Then they change and block the candidates from receiving messages from the board. They also extort them after they change their passwords.

In view of this, the board has come up with adjustments to our operations. The first decision is that beginning from Thursday, April 15, candidates would no longer be required to provide any email address during registration from this year onwards.

It is by going to these cyber cafes to open emails that these candidates are open to abuse and stealing of their personal data,’’ he said.

He said that the board now had a mobile app that would allow candidates to deal directly with the board with their smartphones or via SMS to ‘55019’ code option.

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The code option, he explained, would allow candidates to check admission status as well as all other verifications via SMS.

He said, “Printing of examination slips, results notification or raising tickets can be done anywhere by using candidates’ registration number only. However, at the close of registration every year, we would need the email addresses of the candidates so we can have access to as many of them as possible.

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At the conclusion of registration, candidates are expected to send their email addresses through the mobile app or text message to the 55019 code twice, for validation. This is to update their profile with JAMB as the email will no longer be used as access to their profile, but rather as a communication tool with candidates.’

While advising candidates to guard their phones with utmost care as it was the weapon for all transactions, Oloyede said that henceforth, all JAMB owned Computer-Based Tests (CBT) centres across the country, would only allow candidates with ATM cards into its centres.

He said that in order to cut down on the activities of fraudsters who hijack candidates to extort money from them, the centres would no longer allow candidates go outside the centres to pay for their e-pins and other cash transactions.

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The JAMB Registrar said, “Only candidates with ATM cards will be allowed into all JAMB owned CBT centres, it can be that of their parents as long as they have the pin for the transaction.

“Those without ATM cards can go to other privately owned CBT centres where they can pay cash to register but we will not take cash or transact outside our centres.’’

What you should know

Meanwhile, in a related development, JAMB had said that the board lost over N10 million in 2020 to activities of fraudsters who penetrated their payment portal for ad-hoc staff.

The JAMB Registrar said that the money, which was meant to pay JAMB ad-hoc staff from the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), was hijacked by the suspected fraudsters.

JAMB had a few days ago confirmed the commencement of registration for the 2021 UTME/DE examinations after the initial hiccup.

It stated that applicants must provide NIN at the point of registration with the registration by Direct Entry candidates to run concurrently with that of UTME candidates.

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FG grants 8 barge operations licenses as cargo movement to Onitsha port, others set to commence

The government is likely to generate billions of naira in revenue from the movement of cargo from Lagos ports to other inland ports across the country.

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We don’t have $1 billion hidden account – NPA

The Federal Government has issued operating licences to about 8 barge operators to move containers from Lagos Ports to Onitsha River Port and other inland ports through the country’s inland waterways.

This is as the government is likely to generate billions of naira in revenue with the planned movement of cargo from Lagos ports to Onitsha River Port and other inland ports across the country.

According to a report from Thisday, the Federal Government would likely generate as much as N30 billion annually from that operation if well managed, although the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) is yet to make the estimated revenue from the effort public so as not to jeopardize the project.

This is coming after some government officials had in August 2020, announced that some government maritime agencies are working on modalities for the commencement of transportation of containers from Lagos ports to Onitsha River port through barges.

The Managing Director of NIWA, George Moghalu, at a meeting with the stakeholders in Lagos, said that moving cargoes by waters through barges would be cheaper than roads adding that the initiative was part of ongoing efforts to solve the gridlock in Lagos ports.

What the Managing Director of NIWA is saying

He said that NIWA management decided to have a meeting with the barge operators that it has already licensed to fashion out ways to make the project successful.

Moghalu specifically said, “So it is all about moving cargo between Lagos and Onitsha and other inland ports. We have licensed about eight barge operators. A lot of people have applied but we are being very careful because we have the Standard Operating manual, which we strictly insist that you have to meet all the requirements. At the same time also we do not lose sight of the fact that NPA also licenses barge operators. We try to synergise our operations so standards are not compromised.”

He said the use of the nation’s waterways would save the country’s decaying infrastructure and the money spent on repairing and rebuilding them and increase revenue generated by the government.

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On the security of cargo, the NIWA boss said: “Even on the road, there are security challenges. So, there are security challenges everywhere and there is no way we would discuss the movement of cargoes without looking at the security challenges. There’s a case of getting everybody involved, the Navy, Police, the NIWA Police, Marine Police and even the local communities because security is everybody’s concern and we all have to address it.”

He pointed out that the charges for using the waterways would be cheaper than moving cargoes by road as the modalities for moving cargoes from Lagos to Onitsha is being worked out.

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He said, “People are creating unnecessary fear about insecurity, when I came into the office and made up my mind to explore the possibility of using our inland waterways, everybody discouraged me. Then we did a trial run using Onne to Onitsha and it worked.

It is about identifying the channel, and surveys on a regular basis. We have our report guiding those that are going to use it and they will use it. I don’t want to be discouraged and I don’t want anything to dampen my enthusiasm like the enthusiasm of those working with us, the channels are navigable and the consignment will move.”

In case you missed it

The National Inland Water Ways Authority had last month, made public its intention to move 1000 containers per trip from Lagos ports to Onitsha river port within a maximum duration of 4 days.

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It said that the idea of hauling containers from Lagos ports via Burutu Ports to Onitsha River Port is to deliberately avoid the two small bridges of Gbarekolo and Bumandi, which are too tiny and shallow for sea-moving badges or vessels to ply.

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