One of the legacies of the Buhari administration is the commissioning of a number of railway projects. The Abuja-Kaduna Railway is part of those. Now, in an effort to show its commitment to revitalizing and ensuring the sustainability of the ongoing railway modernization project, the Federal Government has commissioned the Kajola Wagon Assembly Plant in Ogun State. The president, Muhammadu Buhari, performed the commissioning which was coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation. He expressed heartwarming pleasure over the project which was conceived and flagged off on November 8, 2019 by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Buhari said the plant will not only generate the needed employment but will also boost economic opportunities for the citizens as well as promote and develop local capacity in the assembling and manufacturing of rolling stock. The President, who was represented by the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, said the project is in compliance with the Presidential Executive Order No. 5 that encourages companies’ involvement in infrastructure development within the country to ensure transfer of technology to Nigeria.
This locomotive plant can produce 500 wagons per year.
In accordance with this executive order, the Federal Ministry of Transportation in March 2018 signed an agreement with Messrs. China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) to facilitate the establishment of the plant. FG was to support by providing an enabling environment and necessary support in terms of Tax Waivers, Utilities (Power and Water Supply), Access Road and Rail Sidings amongst others. The president said that the Locomotive and Rolling Depot has the capacity to produce 500 Wagons per year of Open Wagons, Container Flat Wagons and Box Wagons. He added that the first set of Wagons assembled in Nigeria are being rolled out for freight services.
Another observation he noted was that the advantage of setting up the plant is the potential to be provided by the ongoing rail projects in the country and Sub-African Region which will generate significant demand for Nigerians Rolling Stock. He said that his government is seriously working to open the first University of Transportation in Daura, Katsina State. This institution is aimed at ensuring adequate turn out of graduates, technicians, artisans, and researchers on different areas of transportation, especially railway transportation, to guarantee the sustainability of the massive infrastructural provision of this administration on rail transportation.
FG’s policy on railway modernization will be environmentally friendly.
At the occasion, the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, said that there was no gainsaying that one of the landmark legacies of the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is this railway policy, which is designed to ensure the sustainability of railway development in the country. She assured that the ministry will remain committed to the full implementation of FG’s policy on railway modernization and expansion of the transportation network. However, this will be implemented only in an environmentally friendly system that engenders socio-economic development of the country.
Meanwhile, the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Sen. Tolulope Odebiyi, said the former Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosu, should be lauded for ensuring that the assembly plant was built in the State. He said that its establishment of the wagon plant would transfer knowledge required for the sustainability of the infrastructure. He also appreciated President Buhari and the Federal Ministry of Transportation for spending the money appropriated judiciously for the completion of the project.
President Buhari scorecard on infrastructure is commendable.
Other notable figures at the event also commented on the project. A member, of the National Assembly representing Ojo Federal Constituency and House of Representative Committee on Marine Transportation, Hon. Tajudeen Adekunle Obasa, said that the commissioning of the wagon plant had restored the glory of Nigeria as the Giant of Africa. The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, said that the plant was a dream come true, especially because it would replace the source for faulty wagons. Apart from this laudable achievement and the revitalization going on in the railway transportation industry, the president has been commended for his achievement in the general transportation industry.