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Lagos-Ibadan rail project: A rebirth of Nigerian rail transport


Early this month, Vice president Yemi Osinbajo, who was then acting president performed the ground breaking of the Lagos – Ibadan rail project that is to run from Apapa port in Lagos to Ibadan. This project is the second segment of the planned six segments Lagos to Kano standard gauge rail track. The first of which is the Abuja – Kaduna 187km rail line that was launched in July 2016. Others are the Kaduna – Kano, Ibadan – Ilorin, Minna – Abuja and Ilorin – Minna.
This rail project line will have about eight stations located at Apapa, Ebube-Metta, intermediate stations at Agege, Kajola, Papalanto, Abeokuta, Omi-Adion, a padding station with technical operation.

From a transport expert’s point of view, the $1.488b rail project is the most important segment of the Lagos – Kano standard gauge line, which has been neglected for too long. This position is affirmed by the fact that unlike the Abuja – Kaduna line that focuses mainly on passengers, this will focus on freight and passenger travel, passing through Apapa, which houses Nigeria’s two busiest seaports (the Lagos Port complex (LPC) popularly called Apapa port and the Tin can Island port complex (TCIPC) both of which are about 6km apart.

This rail project will also facilitate the revamping of the Ibadan Dry inland port. This Inland port will handle freight bound for part of the West and Northern axis of the country. This will in turn reduce the pressure on the Apapa area, which houses these ports as freights bound for the Southeast and South-South will be cleared there.

The project will also ease the movement of passengers along the Lagos – Ibadan expressway that has always needed a form of construction or the other because of the high volume of traffic the road handles. The rail project will also aid the industrial zone between Lagos and Ogun state by easing the transportation of raw materials, as well as, finished goods, a plus for the drive in the usage and consumption of locally made products.

The vice president in the ceremony also informed Nigerians that this rail project would be completed in December 2018, stating that the Federal Government has provided her N72billion counterpart funds for the project, which is about 15% of the project cost. The remaining 85% will be funded by a loan from the Export-Import Bank of China part of the renegotiations that took place during president Buhari’s trip to China last year. The project was awarded to the Chinese firm China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC). Like the saying goes, “No free lunch in china”. But many Nigerians would not seem to care about the contractor rather the completion of the project at the promised time is what matters.

There are those, however, who still nurse reservations regarding the sincerity of the Federal Government to complete this project within the stipulated 21 months. Those in this camp hold the Opinion that the first segment of the Lagos-Kano Standard gauge rail line, which is the 187-kilometre Abuja Kaduna segment, took ten years and four civilian presidents to complete. My appeal to these persons is to give ‘Change’ a chance and hope that we will reap what other African nations like Djibouti and Ethiopia are benefiting from a productive relationship with the Chinese.

Oyimafu, Transport Expert operates in Awka

In this article:
CCECCYemi Osinbajo
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  • Rommel

    Our failure to develop rail sectors still baffles the rest of the world,Nigeria has been a mystery to civilized people

  • olujeda

    FG should equally construct a rail line mainly for passengers / commuters between Lagos Ojota via Shagamu / Ijebu Ode to Ibadan By this people can travel to and fro for economic activities more quickly and without necessarily living in Lagos.
    It will generate employment opportunities, . This is the best possible way to decongest Lagos City and free it from the slum it has become.

    • Amukoko

      There’s a proposal for something in that region. To be honest with you, there’re so many propoposed routes, one can’t be too sure wich will attract govt’s attention, investment.

      Don’t forget too that railway infratructure development isn’t cheap to come by!

      • olujeda

        It is huge investment indeed but without investing you cannot profit. Besides, phased investment is a good approach.Even the present direction at Lagos-Abeokuta- Ibadan, it should have been Lagos–Ijebu Ode–Ibadan as there more commuters on Lagos– Ibadan axis. and there they will quickly recoup / get returns on investment than the former

  • Amukoko

    I beg to differ that this can be called or seen as “A rebirth of Nigerian rail transport.” This is a misnomer. I say so becuase, going by the govt’s 25 years railway strategic vision, the construction of new lines, which started with the yet to be completed Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Warri Port, and the now operational Idu – Kaduna line, are in the “Phase 2”, or, the sytem modernization phase, of that govt’s 25 year railway strategic vision. This phase was envisaged to run from 2007 through 2015, if the plan had run seamlessly. But as we all do know, nothing works so according to set-out oririnal plan. I must say that this is not peculair to the Nigerian project environment.

    I’m always disappointed though with all the reporting on the new constructions soon to be started. This writer is no exception. All the reportings so far, fail to say to it make clear if the new lines will be double tracks, standard gauge systems? Or, is it to be assumed or construed that the new lines are going to be single track, standard gauge systems, just like the Idu – Kaduna section? If double track systems, then, we may have a problem when construction reached the Kaduna – Idu section! Something to think about as we move forward. The problem isn’t insurmountable. But, it will cost more!

    ONe other questionthatcome s to mind is, will the new line (Lagos – Ibadan) also extend or connect the Tin-can Island port in addition to the Apapa port? It will be a great mistake or a disturbing over-sight if both ports are not connected.

    Lastly, my dear transport expert, there is a difference between ‘dry inland port’ and an ‘inland container depot’ (ICD). No inland dry port is planned for Ibadan. If my memory serves me well, the govt proposed to establish in six geo-political zones, namely: Kano, Funtua, Bauchi, Ibadan, Jos, Isiala-Ngwa (Aba), and Maiduguri. Of the seven ICDs planned for the country – only the one for Kaduna is designated a dry inland container port. This has been in the pipeline for sometime now.

    Suffice to say that a lot needs still to be done before the ‘hurrahs’ begin to ring out!

  • Ibikunle Owoseje

    This is a good development! I wish the government can still consider Olokemeji as another sub freight station because of its strategic location as source of exportable materials

  • real

    The idea is good and much needed. however Nigeria problem has always being implementation of policies. This is the same Chinese company that have various huge project across the country. it appear every major project is being done by this same company. Nigeria government goes into contract with this Chinese company, whereby Nigeria doesn’t really get any thing out of it. They don’t transfer capacity, they don’t use local labor and materials, they import finished goods from their own country. is this Chinese company the only company in the world that can handle this projects. That is very much in doubt, this continues to be a one sided relationship, where the Chinese get everything.