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FG approves $1.96bn railway contract from Maradi in Nigeria to Niger Republic




…to purchase 52 Green Maria for correctional centres


The Federal Government on Wednesday approved $1.96 billion for the construction of rail line linking Kano-Dutse-Katsina-Jibia to Maradi in Niger Republic.

The approval followed the presentation of a memo by the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, to the 16th Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Briefing State House correspondents after the council meeting, Amaechi, in company of his colleagues in Works and Housing, Niger Delta Affairs, Interior and Information and Culture Ministries, said the council also approved contract  worth N3 billion for the design, manufacture, supply, testing and commissioning of one railway crane for the purposes of clearing rail tracks in situations of accidents.

The contract, initiated in February 2018 is designed to connect three Nigerian states in the North — Kano, Katsina and Jigawa state,l as well as seven senatorial districts.

The 248-kilometre rail line which will start from Kano, will pass through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi, Niger Republic.

The rail line, when completed, will facilitate supply of crude oil to the refinery being built in the border town between both countries.

“Two memos for the Ministry of Transportation. The first one is the award of contract for the design, manufacture, supply, testing and commissioning of one railway crane of 150 ton capacity for emergency and recovery of rolling stocks.

“This is to sort out say situations of accident on the track. It is for a total cost of N3,049,544,000. That’s the first memo that was approved for the Ministry of Transportation.

“The second one is the award of contract for the development of the proposed Kano-Katsina-Jibia to Matadi rail line in Niger Republic and to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa, for a total cost of $1,959,744,723.71, inclusive of 7.5% VAT,” Amaechi said.

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio,  told newsmen that the council also approved additional forensic auditors at N745.2 million for the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

“This brings to the total number of field forensic auditors to 16 in addition to the earlier approved Lead Forensic Auditors, messrs Olumiluwa Bashir and Co. These people are now going to be in charge of the nine states of the Niger Delta which has been divided into 16 lots.

“As I stated earlier, lot one is Ernst and Young for the headquarters. They will be undertaking the 19 years of audit and also bring out the organogram for restructuring of the NDDC for better performance in future.

“Council also considered and approved the need to attach investigative security agencies, the relevant ones to each of the team to ensure transparency and also to be sure that whatever comes out is acceptable to not just in Nigeria but to the international community,” he said.

Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed, who briefed on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, said two memos, presented by Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, were approved by FEC.

According to him, the first contract is for the procurement of 1,800 units of laptop computers for three Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) training schools, at the cost of N351,540,000. The second contract, costing N197,843,100, is for NCS cash management’s software.

“On behalf of the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, I want to report also that she got two of her memos approved.

“One is for the procurement of 1,800 units of laptop computers for training school and computer-based test examinations at three Nigeria Customs Service training schools in Gwagwalada, Lagos and Kano for a sum of N351,540,000, with a completion period of six weeks.

“The major advantage of this particular contract is that it saves the department a lot of money in hiring consultants for training and other services.

“The Minister also got another approval for N197,843,100 for the expansion of the Nigeria Customs Service’s cash management’s software in compliance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). This is also going to enhance the efficiency of the Department of Customs,” he said.

On the report he delivered on behalf of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, Mohammed said: “On behalf of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, a memo was presented today asking for approval for the augmentation of the contract for the construction of Petroleum Technology Development Fund corporate headquarters office in Abuja, for the sum of N3,773,784,399.48, therefore raising the initial approval for the contract to about N14 billion.

“However, the important thing about this particular contract is that the building has since been completed, it has since been in use and we inherited this augmentation from 2015.

“But since governance is a continuum, we are honouring the augmentation, but this headquarters building has been completed, the contractors have been magnanimous while all these arguments about the augmentation was going on, they were magnanimous enough to complete the project and many international conferences have been held in that building,” Mohammed said.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said council approved N12.088 billion for the construction of the Section two of the Ohafia-Arochukwu road.

“This section comprises Umuahia/BendeBende/Ohafia road in Abia State and it was approved for construction at N12.088 billion comprising a distance of 45 kilometers to complement Section One which was previously awarded in 2018, that is the section from Bende/Arochukwu to Ohafia which was 19.27 kilometers.

“So with this award now, the entire length of the road is now under contract with the same contractor and we hope for expeditious execution.”

On his part, Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola said contract for the procurement of 52 operational Green Maria for the Correctional Centres as well as ease of movement of awaiting trial inmate from the Custodial centres 247 to about 5, 022 courts across the country.

“This is to compliment what we have already acquired between 2016 and 2019 of about 451 Operational Green Maria vehicles. The objective is to ensure that the delay associated with trial of inmate is reduced if not eliminated,” he said.

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