7 min read

By Aishat Momoh. O.

The Lagos-Kano rail project is part of the Federal Government’s rail transportation program, which was approved in 2002 for a 25-year period.

It was awarded to a Chinese company, China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), on the 30th of October, 2002, after a contract was signed.

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CCECC and the Federal Ministry of Transportation signed a supplementary agreement on October 22, 2009, for the completion, commissioning, and use of the Abuja-Kaduna stretch, which was completed, commissioned, and put to use by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

On August 28, 2012, the government signed a supplementary agreement for the building of a 156.8-kilometer double track railway between Lagos and Ibadan, the second part of the corridor.

However, on December 26, 2016, the CCECC and the Nigerian government decided to extend this train route to Apapa port, a distance of 8.57 kilometers.

Given the seriousness with which supercritical infrastructure projects are provided, the Buhari administration has dusted off these agreements and praised their actual completion.

The President visited Lagos in June of this year to commission this project and officially place it at the service of Nigerians.

This project will play a significant role in the West African railway system. A subregional railway network is being built by the 15 ECOWAS countries. It is hoped that it would connect to the Niger Republic railway via the Kano-Maradi standard gauge rail line, which the President started building on a few months ago.

This project will serve as a Nigerian trunk railway line as well as an essential link in the West African railway network.

It will support growth in the north and the rest of the country, as well as build a framework for economic cooperation, material exchange, and human exchange with neighboring countries, once completed.

As previously stated, this project is a national railway of Nigeria trunk line, an important part of the regional network backbone system, a convenient channel and important passenger transportation corridor for passenger and freight exchange between Nigerian cities, and an important part of the West African railway network.

This route would establish an efficient and easy railway channel for the import and export of products in Nigeria, as well as passenger exchange along the line, when it is completed. It will provide an efficient and high-quality transportation system for the long-term and rapid growth of the regional and national economies, strengthen regional cooperation and exchange, and accelerate the development of traditional industry and the domestic industrialization process, all in order to promote the long-term and rapid growth of the economy along the entire line, if not the entire country.

This line will improve interaction and interchange between areas with a backward economy and the external economic environment, accelerate economic development in the backward area, and play a critical role in compensating for regional economic and social disparities.

As a result, the construction of this line could presumably increase economic contact between Nigeria’s north and south, allowing for the flow of goods and persons, as well as the north’s regional economy’s coordinated development.

Another key feature of the new railway, which is currently under construction, is that it would meet Nigeria’s demand for the creation of a green transportation channel.

Along this project’s route, there is a relatively delicate ecological environment, and highway traffic has low transportation capacity and high transportation costs, as well as significant energy consumption and emissions of environmentally harmful waste gases.

Trains on the existing small gauge railway operate at a slow speed and have limited capacity, reducing railway transportation efficiency.

Compared to expressways, standard gauge railway technology is intended to provide a large-capacity, convenient, land-saving, energy-saving, environmentally friendly, safe, and green mode of transportation with this project. This should significantly improve the quality of the atmosphere, water, and reduce pollutants along the way.

Conclusively, it should be highlighted that the constructed Abuja-Kaduna Railway is just 186 kilometres long, severely limiting transportation capacity. The Kaduna-Kano Railway will provide a northward expansion of the Abuja-Kaduna Railway, bringing the total length of the Abuja-Kano Railway to 390 kilometres, considerably improving transportation efficiency and meeting demand for medium to long-distance and high-density transportation.

The Kano-Kaduna Standard Gauge Railway will promote national mobility and ensure smooth passenger and freight train operations on the Lagos-Kano rail link.

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