Transportation Minister Sa’idu Ahmed Alkali has announced that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) building, obstructing the construction of a railway standard gauge to Apapa Ports, will be demolished. He instructed the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to ensure the operational readiness of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Train Station within three weeks.
During a meeting with the management and leaders of the Nigerian Railway Workers Association at the corporation’s Lagos headquarters, Alkali emphasised the commitment of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration to the railway modernisation master plan.
The NCS building has avoided demolition for four years under two previous ministers. Sources within the NCS have revealed that the building contains radioactive equipment, potentially posing health hazards if not carefully demolished.
Alkali expressed dissatisfaction that the building’s continued existence, despite numerous directives to the contrary, necessitates urgent executive action. He emphasised that the building’s presence hinders the completion of two standard gauge lines essential for transporting containers from Lagos to Kano.
Members of the National Union of Railway Workers (NURW) welcomed the minister’s assurance to ensure the payment of previously approved but unimplemented presidential allowances. Alkali pledged personal efforts to expedite the removal of the Customs building at APTM and to facilitate the prompt implementation of increased special allowances for Railway workers.
The minister commended the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) for establishing a rail wagon assembly plant in Ogun State, at Kajola. The plant, which is already assembling wagons, has been urged to expand its operations into container and coach assembly to boost economic activities, particularly in light of the country’s expanding rail projects.
Alkali also directed the Nigerian Railway Corporation Property Limited, a subsidiary of NRC, to provide comprehensive data on the corporation’s real estate assets, which would contribute to informed decision-making.
NRC Managing Director Fidet Okhiria implored Alkali to assist in finding a lasting solution to the security challenges and vandalism faced by critical railway infrastructure nationwide.