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NRC To Receive Five Locomotives, February

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Sequel to the promise made by the Minister of Transport, Alhaji Ibrahim Bio recently that the Federal Government has ordered 25 locomotive engines, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) is to receive the first batch of five locomotive engines in February this year.

The Tide has reliably gathered that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has already issued a letter of credit (LC) to General Electric of Brazil as requested by the Federal Ministry of Transport and the Nigerian Railways, to cover the balance of payment for the procurement of 25 new locomotives.

The station manager of the NRC in Port Harcourt, Mr. Biodun Daniel in a chat with The Tide said that the arrival of the new locomotive engines would go a long way to turn around the operations of the NRC, if the promise made by government sees the light of day.

According to Biodun, several promises have been made in the past with respect to rehabilitation of the Nigerian Railways, but that they did not materialise, pointing out that only the arrival of the first batch of locomotives in February as promised will determine how serious government is on the matter.

He said that the NRC  at the moment particularly in the Eastern zone of the corporation, had only one locomotive engine in operation, and that it was used mostly to operate between Enugu and other nearby communities around Benue belt to carry agricultural products.

The Tide also gathered that the arrival of the brand new locomotives in batches is in line with the contract agreement, and that hence, the arrival of the first batch of five engines next month will begin a new era in the NRC’s operations, while the complete delivery of all the 25 would be concluded in September this year.

It was also disclosed that the expansion of the rail track was on-going and would likely be concluded before the arrival of the new locomotives, and that about $24 million had been paid to a consultancy firm The Team Consultants, for its consultancy on Kaduna – Abuja single track standard gauge  spanning 180 kilometres.

Also the scope of work for the Ibadan – Lagos segment was under review, while the Ajaokuta – Warri line project which was before now to cover the contract for completion of 22km track distance, had now been expanded to accommodate the rehabilitation of the entire 254km line.

These also included the reconstruction of undermined bridges and culverts, and other exigencies that are related to the job.

Corlins Walter

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Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA

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Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos today to take a look at the Nigeria’s preparedness to maximize the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 
The Tide learnt that stakeholders will be converging at the instance of a popular online newspaper, Primetime Reporters, to assess the progress made so far by the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA agreement.
The event which is the Third Annual Lecture and Awards of the online medium has as its theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.” 
The event will also witness conferment of awards on eight eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Primetime Reporters, Mr. Saint Augustine Nwadinamuo, made this known in a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, the event will hold at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos beginning from 10.00am.
Nwadinamuo said that the event would be chaired by a renowned legal practitioner, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara of the Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Lagos, while the Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, would be the lead paper presenter.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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EFCC Nabs 419 Kingpin Over N250m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a leader of a deadly 419 syndicate, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka (a.k.a Awise) over an alleged attempt to swindle an innocent Nigerian of N250 million. 
The Tide learnt that the syndicate operates from a shrine at Ashipa Town, near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Sunday, by the EFCC, Awise’s arrest followed a petition by his victim, Juliet Bright who lost N250m to the fraudster after she was tricked to provide money for sacrifices and invocations to heal her of an ailment.
The statement said Bright was introduced to Alaka by one Akinola Bukola Augustina (a.ka. Iya Osun) whom she met on Facebook in the course of her search for solutions to her health challenge. 
What drew her to Augustina was the latter’s post under the name, Osunbukola Olamitutu Spriritual Healing Centre.
 Once Bright contacted Augustina, the latter promised to heal her if she could pay N16 million. 
The victim paid the money through an Access Bank account belonging to one Mohammed Sani, who later turned out to be a Bureau De Change Operator.
After paying the money without receiving healing, Augustina transferred the victim to other members of the syndicate, notably Awise. 
Bright revealed that she met Awise at his shrine in Ashipa Town and was hypnotized and subsequently transferred various sum through bank accounts and in cash to the suspect and his syndicate members, until she lost N250 million to them.
Despite all the monies collected from her, her health conditions has never improved.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Expert Wants Farmers To Grow Plant Produce For Export

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An expert in Quarantine Agriculture, Dr Vincent Ozuru, has advised Nigerian farmers to give more attention to growing plants produce that could be exported.
He said that plant like the hibiscus, popularly known as Zobo is on high demand in some countries around the world, today.
Ozuru who gave the advice while speaking to aviation correspondents at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, noted that some plants produce, particularly hibiscus, had yielded huge revenue to the Federal Government through export.
According to him, Nigeria exported about 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone in 2017 and earned $35 million within nine months of that year.
The agricultural quarantine expert explained that the export of the plant had a setback as a result of storage pest discovered by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service in some consignments.
“The issue has now been taken care of and the export is resuming again, and all matters have been resolved with the stakeholders across the value chain.
“Mexico is the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus, and our farmers should brace up to the challenge.
“The good news is that Nigeria has a vast growing belt in hibiscus, and the harvest is available all year round.
“We need to take advantage of this opportunity to earn foreign exchange for ourselves and for the country at large, even with the commitment of the present administration to diversify the economy”, he said.
Ozuru called on Nigerian farmers to show more commitment to the growing of export produce and also endeavor to get ready information on it in order to increase their income.

By: Corlins Walter

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