President Muhammadu Buhari, in demonstration of his government’s commitment to ensure sustainability of ongoing railway modernisation project, has commissioned the Kajola Wagon Assembly Plant in Ogun State.
The plant, which is the first in West Africa, has a locomotive and rolling depot capacity to produce 500 wagons per year of open wagons, container flat wagons and box wagons.
According to Buhari, out of 368 various types of wagons needed and awarded to the contractor, about 220 wagons of the existing rolling stock procurement contract are to be produced at the plant, pending when it would be transformed to a full wagon manufacturing facility.
Buhari, who was represented by former Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, said the establishment of the assembly plant, which was conceived and flagged off in November 8, 2019, by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative by Messrs China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) Nigeria Limited in the Lagos-Ibadan Railway modernisation project.
He said with his approval, the ministry signed an agreement with CCECC as Direct Foreign Investment (DFI) by the company in compliance with Presidential Order No. 5 that promotes companies’ involvement in infrastructure development and transfer of technology to Nigeria.
In his remarks, Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, said the plant was a dream come true, adding that it would serve as a source for replacement of faulty wagons instead of sourcing them overseas.
Deputy Managing Director, CCECC Nigeria Limited, Jacques Liao, said the firm would contribute to development of railway technology in Nigeria.
Liao said the plant would provide logistics for freight movement and also create direct and indirect jobs.
Earlier in her speech, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, said the completed rail-wagon plant represents a significant milestone in the development of the rail industry not just in Nigeria but also in Africa as a whole.