Nigeria to get 20 new coaches in 6 weeks, says Transportation Minister, Amaechi



Twenty new coaches are to arrive Nigeria in six weeks for the Abuja-Kaduna and the Lagos-Ibadan rail lines, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has confirmed.

Contained in a statement by the ministry, Amaechi made the disclosure while speaking with newsmen on Sunday at the Nnamdi Azikiwi International Airport, Abuja, on his arrival from China.

He told news men that “We went for two items, basically to get more locomotives and coaches. They are all ready. It will take six weeks to get to Nigeria and maybe one week to clear them.

“For the Lagos trains, it will be easy. It will take a day or two to get them to the track. But, for those coming to Abuja, it will take one week or two to get them here.

“To my surprise, the coaches we released two or three weeks ago to go to Kaduna arrived just within two days. So, we hope that when these trains arrive Lagos seaport, we should be able to get them fast.

“We are expecting 20 coaches, 10 for Abuja-Kaduna and 10 for Lagos-Ibadan as a temporary measure. More will then arrive in the second batch as we complete Lagos-Ibadan.”

According to the statement, the minister did a test run of the locomotives and motored cars while taking delivery of the newly built trains in China, and reportedly confirmed that these trains were better improved and of higher technology than what obtained previously.

He also said that more trains were still being built for Nigeria and the next batch would be delivered as soon as they are ready.

Speaking on maintenance, the minister said that, “In all our contracts, you have a maintenance contract. Like now, the one for Abuja has expired and I’ve just directed them to renew the contract. Though I’m going to seek approval from both the President and the cabinet, but the Chinese should not leave the site for now.

“Also, what is critical to the sustenance of our railway system is what we are doing in China. We are training our people, the Chinese won’t live here forever, they have to go, so our own engineers will take over; and I met with some of those Nigerian engineers during my China trip.

“We hope that in the coming years, they will come back and then we can stop the Chinese maintenance contract in both Kaduna-Abuja and Lagos-Ibadan.”

For the Warri-Itakpe rail line,  the minister said it would be completed by early by early 2020.

“That one is nearing completion. It should be completed by January/February, March latest, but that’s not the problem, the problem is Abuja to Itakpe with the Seaport in Warri. We’ve signed all the documents, we are waiting for the Chinese.”