Lagos Metro Rail Project’s Take-off Hits Home Bend

THE much expected Lagos metro line project may soon take off, sequel to the sealing of pacts by relevant stakeholders.

The scheme, which has already attracted $2.4 billion investment plan from the private sector, is expected to ferry 1.8 million daily from Agbado in Ogun State to Iddo in Lagos State.

Already, The Marina Express Train Service Ltd (METSL) has sealed pact with The Infrastructure Bank (TIB) to construct the proposed Lagos Metro Rail Transit (LMRT) Red Line.

Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar made the disclosure at the weekend in Abuja at the ceding and handing over of the Right of Way (ROW) for the Iddo-Agbado Corridor for the proposed rail line scheme.

The proposed Lagos State Mass Transit Train Services (MTTS), named “Red Line’’,has been projected to significantly impact on the growth and development of the Lagos-Ogun states’ industrial and economic zones.

The Minister discloded that “the royalties due to the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), arising from the use of the corridor by the Lagos State government over the life of the project shall be valued. It shall be converted to Federal Government equity in the consortium that will implement and manage the project over the concession period.

“As such, Federal Government’s participation will provide needed impetus for follow up on investors and is a major investment showcase for Nigeria’s economy to global investment community,’’ he said.

Umar expressed delight over the request by Lagos State Government for the Federal Government to release the Eastern section of the existing NRC Right of Way in Lagos.

“I consider it a welcome idea knowing fully well that such development will boost the economic fortunes of the state which will eventually spread to other states in the country.

“The request was treated with dispatch with the constitution of a technical committee to look into the possibility of sharing the existing NRC rail corridor in Lagos without interruption in the operation of the corridor.

“The committee comprised representatives from Ministry of Transport, NRC, Lagos state government and Lagos Area Metropolitan Transport Authority (LAMATA),’’ he said.

Umar explained that the technical committee, in its report, noted that the Right of Way of the existing narrow gauge rail corridor was 30 metres and could accommodate five tracks of rail lines.

The Minister said that this would be done with an integrated and well managed independent signaling and telecommunications system adding that the Federal Government also reviewed the recommendations of the technical committee and granted approval.

Umar explained that going by the approval, the Federal Fovernment and NRC would occupy three rail tracks of the Western side of the corridor.

“The three rail tracks consist of two for the proposed railway modernisation project and one narrow gauge line for freight and passenger movement.

“Lagos State Government and LAMATA will occupy two standard gauge two tracks on the Eastern side of the corridor for the construction and operation of the standard gauge Lagos state MTTS,’’ he said.

Umar stressed that the state government would be responsible for the acquisition of Right of Way and payment of compensation to communities within Lagos area. This, he said, should be when the Federal Government commences the construction of the Lagos-Abuja high speed project as well as the East West and Coastal rail lines to run between Lagos and Aba via Shagamu-Benin-Onitsha-Owerri.

He added that the Lagos State government would be responsible for the relocation of the NRC infrastructure from the Eastern side to the Western side of the track.

According to him, in pursuant of the laudable project, as a leading member of the bidding consortium, Marina Express Train Services Project, proposed a draft agreement.

Umar said the agreement was between his ministry, NRC and the Lagos State government on the sharing of the equity on the ROW of the existing rail corridor between Iddo and Agbado

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