Niger govt. partners NRC on rail transport

The Niger government is to partner with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to improve rail transport and reduce pressure roads in the state.

Alhaji Sani Bello, governor of the state, said this during a visit to the NRC Headquarters in Lagos Monday.

Bello said the visit was to explore avenues how Niger would partner with NRC to decongest the roads in the state.

“This is the second time I will be visiting the NRC Headquarters to establish a relationship to improve rail transportation, cargo as well as passenger movement within the state.

“We are here to partner with NRC because, we have various in Niger State, that are motorable and thankfully, we have rail tracks.

“Farmers find it difficult to transport their produce. I believe, once we are able to provide access to their farms, it will make them to produce and transport their goods at cheaper cost,” the governor said.

According to him, the second objective of the visit is to encourage the use of railway to reduce pressure roads in the state.

“Now we have trucks carrying more than 30 to 90 tons; no roads in Nigeria can survive that,” Bello said.

He noted rail transport between Minna and  Kaduna had started, saying that, there was need to improve the system by purchasing additional coaches.

He stressed that NRC would be in of the rail operations, while the state government would facilitate maintenance of the locomotives and wagons.

Bello who also presented a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to the Management of NRC, stated that he looked forward to signing the draft.

In his remarks, the Managing Director of NRC, Mr Fidet Okhiria, said the cooperation would partner with Niger Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis.

“The Niger State Government wants NRC to deliver frequent services from Kaduna to Minna, also from Baro to Minna and Akerri to Minna both passengers and freight services, so that we will be able to move freight from Lagos to Kaduna and Kanu.

“The establishment of freight and passengers’ movement along the above corridor, will reduce the cost of road maintenance.

“The Federal Government cannot do it alone. So the partnership is a welcome development,” Okhiria added.

He some that formed a synergy with NRC to improve rail transport such as Niger and Osun, while pleading with others, to key into rail transport. (NAN)