The Nigerian Government has commissioned the Kajola Wagon Assembly Plant in Ogun State, Southwest of the country.
The commissioning is part of its commitment to revitalize and ensure the sustainability of the ongoing railway modernisation project in Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari who performed the commissioning of the project, coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation expressed immense pleasure over the project which was conceived and flagged off on November 8, 2019, by Vice President Prof. Yemi Osibanjo.
Furthermore, the President said “it would not only generate the needed employment but boost economic opportunities for the citizenry as it will 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 Sambo, said “the project complies with the Presidential Executive Order No. 5 that stipulates “companies’ involvement in infrastructure development within the country to ensure transfer of technology to Nigeria.”
It is in line with this Order that 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 with the Nigerian Government providing an enabling environment and necessary support in terms of Tax Waivers, Utilities (Power and Water Supply), Access Road and Rail Sidings amongst others.
According to President Buhari, “the Locomotive and Rolling Depotcano produce 500 Wagons per year of Open Wagons, Container Flat Wagons and Box Wagons, adding that the first set of Wagons assembled in Nigeria is being rolled out for freight services.”
“The advantages of setting up the plant are 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” President Buhari explained.
He said: “With the milestone achieved, we are seriously working to open the first University of Transportation in Daura, Katsina State. The intension of this University is to ensure adequate turn out of graduates, technicians, artisans, researchers in in different areas of transportation especially railway transportation to guarantee the sustainability of the massive infrastructural provision of this administration on rail transportation.”
Also speaking at the occasion, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani, said; “there is no gainsaying that this is one of the landmark legacies of the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, designed to ensure the sustainability of railway development in the country.”p
She promised that the Federal Ministry of Transportation would remain committed to full implementation of the Government’s Policy on Railway Modernization and expansion of the transportation network.
She also said that it would be done in an environmentally friendly system that engenders the socio-economic development of the country.
Delivering a goodwill message, the Vice Chairman, 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.
Odebiyi said that the establishment of the wagon plant would transfer knowledge required for the sustainability of the infrastructure.
He appreciated President Buhari and the Federal Ministry of Transportation for spending the money appropriated judiciously for the completion of the project.
He lauded President Buhari, saying “infrastructure is a legacy that would never be forgotten.”
On his part, a Member, of the National Assembly, representing Ojo Consistency and House of Representative Committee on Marine Transportation, Tajudeen Obasa, said the commissioning of the wagon plant has restored the glory of Nigeria as the Giant of Africa.
In his remarks, the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, said the plant was a dream come true, stressing that it would serve as a source for replacement of faulty wagons instead of sourcing them overseas.
Okhiria, aid some wagons had been delivered to NRC for trials, tested and confirmed as meeting international standards.