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‘How rail system will save Lekki from congestion’


[FILE PHOTO] Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman

The extension of a rail system to the Lekki area of Lagos will help the state avert another traffic disaster in the next few years, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, has said.

Given the multiplicity of mega projects in the area, such an infrastructure will guarantee sanity and flow of traffic when the projects take off.

The investments include the $1.5 billion Lekki Deep Seaport; 650,000-barrel per day (bpd) Dangote Refinery; and the Lekki Free Trade Zone that will accommodate more than 48 companies.

When operational, these mega projects would cause a shift in vehicular movements and trigger heavy traffic for the supply of raw materials and evacuation of goods. 
Usman, in a chat with journalists in Lagos, said she was shocked that there was no provision for rail connection to the Lekki Deep Seaport by the promoters when she came into office two years ago.
She said NPA has written wrote the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), to ensure rail connection to the site, adding that Dangote Refinery was also contacted to make provisions for pipelines for products evacuation to avoid trucks parking on the roads while trying to pick products from that axis.
She recalled: “When we took over two years ago, there was no provision for rail connection out of Lekki, in the Deep Seaport plan, which I found quite strange that you can have a deep seaport without the need for rail connection.
“It will take you two years to build the port but five years to build the rail.

So, we have written the Nigerian Railway Corporation to ensure that there is a rail connection.
“The same way we have written the Dangote Refinery to have pipeline evacuation of liquids out of the refinery in Lekki, so that you don’t have trucks parking, and looking for where to pick products from the refinery.

There is also a proposed Lekki By-Pass in addition to the road that Lagos State is constructing, linking Lekki to Shagamu.
“So, one, there must be pipelines for product evacuation; two, there must be rail connection; three, there must be additional means of road transportation, and the Lagos access road also need to be prioritised.

So, we need to work to have some sanity in five years’ time.

If we do not deploy what is required now, in five to 10 years’ time, Lekki will be unmanageable.

I am a believer of starting something; even if you do not finish it, start it.”

The Deep Seaport is primed to become one of the largest deep water ports in sub-Sahara Africa as the promoters are targeting about 1.5 million 20ft equivalent units container capacity yearly, which is expected to grow to about 2.7million and 4.7million TEUs, when operations commence.

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