President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, commissioned the recently established Wagon Assembly Plant in Kajola, Ogun State. During the commissioning ceremony, the president described the plant as the first of its kind across West Africa. He stated that the Assembly Plant project was a section of the Corporate Social Responsibility effort of construction company, Messrs, CCECC Nigeria Limited, under its Lagos-Ibadan Railway Modernization Project which is also a part of the Lagos-Kano Railway Modernization Project.
Represented by the Federal Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, President Buhari asserted that an agreement was signed with Messrs, CCECC by the Ministry in March, 2018. This is to enhance the promotion of the involvement of companies in infrastructure development and transfer of technology to the country. The Federal Government will ensure facilitation of the establishment of the plant through provision of an enabling environment and required support in aspects of tax waivers, access road and rail sidings and utilities — Power and Water Supply — and many more.
Generation of employment and improvement of economic opportunities.
Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of the federation, performed the ground breaking ceremony of the Wagon Assembly Plant on November 8, 2019. It was noted to be part of the efforts of the Federal Government to promote and develop the local capacity to assemble and manufacture Rolling Stock. Also, it is a medium of generation of employment and improvement of economic opportunities for the citizens. The Wagon Assembly Plant has been completed with a Locomotive and Rolling Depot which has the annual capacity of producing 500 Wagons — Open Wagons, Box Wagons and container Flat Wagons.
With the attained achievement, Buhari said that his administration is working towards establishing the first University of Transportation in Daura, Katsina State. The university will focus on producing competent graduates, artisans, technicians and researchers in different fields of transportation, particularly railway transportation to assure the sustainable massive infrastructural provision of the current administration on railway transportation. “We therefore expect that very soon graduates of the University of Transportation Daura, and returnees from various Universities in China that were awarded scholarships by Messrs, CCECC — will will occupy their pride of place in the Kajola Assembly Plant,” he concluded.
Soon, the Assembly Plant will be transformed into a manufacturing plant.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, said that the Kajola Rolling Stock Rail Wagon Assembly Plant complex, as one of the many initiatives of the Ministry of Transportation, is focused on developing multi-modal transportation systems in Nigeria. It is one of the government’s initiatives to improve the ongoing modernization programme targeted at producing rolling stock, spare parts, wagon and maintaining equipment required for the many railway projects across the nation. This is done according to the Presidential Order No. 5 which makes Nigerians and Nigerian businesses priorities.
It was also disclosed by the Permanent Secretary that the plant offers a platform for local technicians, artisans and others to acquire specialized skills to produce and maintain rolling stock. Additionally, the plant is projected to provide opportunities for indigenous key staff at top, middle and low levels, with the inclusion of 5,000 direct and indirect jobs. With time, there will be a transformation of the Assembly Plant to a manufacturing plant that has the capacity to produce essential components of railway parts that measure up to the standard needs of railway transportation in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Provision of 2000 direct and indirect jobs is assured by the project.
Commending this project, Deputy Managing Director, (China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation) CCECC Nigeria Limited, Jacques Liao, said the assembly plant is significant to Nigerian railway modernization and associated industrial development. He believes that the project would provide 2000 direct and indirect jobs and a platform to train indigenous railway wagons production and maintenance technicians and engineers across the country. Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhira, further stated that the project will station Nigeria as a destination of choice for Africans and residents in Africa.